Is your ladder against the right wall?
Updated: Jan 29, 2019
Recently in the UK we had Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme was stress. Never one to do things by halves, for me, the week was characterised by several different activities, events and situations that touched directly on the themes of stress and resilience. I delivered two workshops about resilience, as well as one on mental health, and at the beginning of the week I had a significant IT failure. I lost A TON of work (I know, I know, all my own fault!), including the materials for the resilience sessions I was due to deliver later in the week. It was super stressful, but obviously not the end of the world in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes though, when we're already a bit 'full', a relatively small setback can be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
So, once all the materials had been re-written (arghhhhhh! I hate doing things twice!) I decided to start a series of blogs on the subject of resilience, sharing some of the materials and exercises from the courses I deliver.
One of the things we can all do in terms of reducing unnecessary stress in our life is to focus on the things that matter. Really matter.
Sometimes people find themselves achieving victories that are empty, successes that have come at the expense of things that were far more valuable to them. If you were to look back on your life from the end, what would you want it to look like and what would you have wanted to achieve? Are you concentrating hard every day on making those things happen?
This idea was first discussed by author of 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People', Stephen Covey who described how people can so easily find themselves ‘off-course’- struggling to achieve a higher salary, more recognition or an emptier in-box, only to find that their drive to achieve these superficial things has blinded them to the things that really mattered most, like family, friends, love, contribution to the community and doing good. Covey reminds us that if your ‘ladder is not leaning against the right wall’, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.
In his book, he invites us to do a powerful activity where we pretend that we’re at our own funeral. All of the important people that matter most to us are there and many get up to speak. What would you want them to say? This helps you get really clear on your values, relationships and priorities so that you can be the creator of your life, rather than other people or circumstances dictating it.
With this “end” in mind we are able to better understand where we are now, and what steps are taking us in the right direction, and which ones are not. But, whether you choose to do the activity or not, hopefully you might be able to relate to the sentiment of choosing to live a life of design, rather than default.
What do you think about this as an idea? Is it something you’ve tried? Is it something you’d like to give a go? Does your ladder feel like it’s against the right wall? I’d love to hear from you, so please post your feedback below. Sharing our stories can be so healthy and healing, and often super helpful to other people. Remember, the more you give in life, the more you get! I’d love it if you’d share this blog on social media so that bit by bit, we can help those we love to move from surviving to thriving!