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Stretch Yourself - You will be Pleasantly Surprised
by Linda Edgecombe

According to Linda Duxbury of Carlton University the Issue facing many Canadian Corporations is their inability to deal with staff's desire to find more balance in their lives. Duxbury has done extensive research looking at the amount of bottom line dollars it is costing Businesses and it ranks into the several Billions. When we don't address this dire need, our staff will arbitrarily take time off via mental health days, unplanned vacation days, and longer stints of time due to stress.

It's as if we woke up one day in the spring of 1995 in our 40's and said "What the hell am I doing all this stuff for?"
And the point is????
I often find myself looking at what I think is odd creative adventures and think to myself: "That person has far too much time on their hands" I harbor resent for anyone who has remotely created for themselves what I used to call a LIFE. I want to encourage you to look at the following list of questions and just notice what comes up for you. If you answer yes to more than 2 of the following statements, then I venture to guess that balance, or more specifically, the lack of balance in your life is an issue, at least worth reflecting on.

Would you Agree or Disagree to the following statements:
  • I frequently miss my children's special events because of my work schedule.
  • I often volunteer for stuff and then have to pull out, because I'm overloaded and then feel guilt.
  • I feel guilty about many things in my life.
  • I can't remember the last time I slept-in.
  • I don't have a sense of purpose
  • I don't have time to exercise.
  • Lately I don't feel comfortable in my own skin.
  • My responsibilities to work, children, community and partner all compete for my attention.
  • I rarely have fun, and judge people who are always laughing.
  • I feel I am wasting time if I'm not accomplishing something
  • I've lost touch with my friends.
  • I find myself missing deadlines when I normally don't.
  • I find myself doing work when I'm sitting at the hair salon, cause I know I should be doing something other than catch up on all the Hollywood stars lives…..
If you haven't figured it out yet, that's where this little gem of insight is being written.

Accountability as a new way of living has become very in Vogue. It seems we really desire a life of significance and have not quite figured out where or how to start living that way.

Since January 2004, at every presentation I have given, I have been almost evangel in my desire to get the word out. I know I have always been a goal setter, but kept falling short in a few areas of my so-called-life. I have been amazed how the Guilt Free Accountability Success System™ has been just that, guilt free. The basic premise is that I email my small group of peers with my weekly to-do's, I try and have them move me towards my larger goals for the week and then get together for our once a month face-to-face meetings and discuss how it's all going.

But where it's really gotten interesting for me has been around month 5. At this part of the program, we are encouraged to "STRETCH" ourselves by committing to 3 stretch goals.

So I decided on the following three for 3months:
  • No Drinking Alcohol
  • No Wavering on my fees.
  • Limit TV to one hour per day.
Interestingly, the TV goal is the toughest. Just a few weeks ago was the National No Turn off TV week. So I decided for everyone in our house that we'd give it a try.

You see I was asked to sit on a panel at the end of the week and be that parent who lets her kids watch TV and be berated by the many parents who don't allow TV on at all. Well day one had a couple of "It's not fair" comments, but after that. It was a week in heaven. Less fighting, quieter, we walked after dinner each night all of us read more and I got more sleep. (What else was there to do?)

I made two decisions after that experience. The kids can have one hour a day and they can choose when that time is spent. And this summer the cable is being cut off. Well at least until the next Bachelor series in back on. Love that reality TV!

I haven't wavered on my fees and for those of you who sell for a living, this is a great experiment to try. I've quoted full fee for the past month and will continue for the next 2 and everyone who I have negotiated with has accepted. Go figure!

No drinking, I thought would be tough, but hasn't been. I do love my wine. But I love waking up everyday feeling great even more.

So here are my final thoughts on Accountability. The key to a balanced life is one that looks at and moves forward on all parts of our lives. We tend to be pretty good at making goals for our careers. Some because we have to and some because we want to, but most executives and staff who I've spoken to admit in private to me that their work goals, really are not THEIR goals.

Where we have fallen short in our lives is we don't address the multitude of things we want to accomplish in the other 72 hours we have to fill each week. The time we call "Home Life". My challenge to you is, should you decide to take it on, is to email me with your next weeks "To-Do's" They must be in my inbox by Monday at noon. Choose a couple of your to-do's to move you towards one or two of your larger annual goals.

If you are really keen to get more focused, and create a life that has True Meaning for you, find a handful of friends, email me and have me send you out a Guilt Free Accountability Success System Kit and get your group going. You will email once a week to each other and meet once a month to discuss how it's going.

The cost is minimal and the results are truly amazing.

Where in the World do you want to go?

Copyright Linda Edgecombe. All Rights Reserved.

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