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The Battle Of Fatigue: Sooner Or Later You Have To Stop

by Richard Norris on January 22, 2015

The Longest Day Helmet 200x300 The Battle Of Fatigue: Sooner Or Later You Have To Stop

The Battle Of Fatigue: Sooner Or Later You Have To Stop

At one time or another we all face fatigue. Often it’s due to our own choices. Fatigue is a sure sign we need to stop before any harm is done. You can win the battle of fatigue by taking control and stopping…the sooner the better.

In the latter half of last year I had an increasing sense of weariness. Whilst I was not physically fatigued, I just felt flat mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Something felt amiss and I really couldn’t put a finger on it. I felt stuck in a rut. I felt drained with my daily and weekly routine. I like to think I am fairly durable, but I just felt I was getting dull.

When I get dull things become fruitless and I know I need to do something. Often the best thing for me to do is to stop, take stock and find out the cause. Then and only then, like a corrupted computer, can I repair, reprogram and reboot. My solution this time was to commit to shake up my routine and make time for some focused prayer, fasting and reflection. Sure I could have kept going but that wouldn’t have helped and may have hindered or harmed me further. And, if you’re like me, why would you want to harm yourself if you can prevent it?

Which brings me to a question I asked myself that perhaps you need to too…

Where do you need to not just slow down but stop right now?

If you ever get fatigued and feel run down or just plain dull, you’ll know something must change. Fatigue is a sure sign your body, mind and spirit are telling you to take notice. It’s telling you there is something that needs fixing if you are to be at your best. A good example here is when you know you have a holiday booked so you work like crazy to get everything squared away. You’re so stressed, that when you finally relax on holiday, you get sick. Your reserves are used up and your defenses are practically nil.

Fatigue comes at a price that many of us cannot afford and should never pay.

Listen to a conversation between parents or co-workers anywhere and at some point someone will say they are tired. As I’ve learned, much of our fatigue is of our own choosing. We work too hard and too long. We cannot say no to people so we over commit and then are overworked. As I was listening to a mum yesterday, some parents believe their kids have to be busy all the time. Parent and child therefore never truly rest. That’s just wrong. Everyone, young and old, needs regular down time. If they don’t, they’re depleting their reserves. At some point that will create problems – physical, emotional, relational etc. An overly busy lifestyle is setting a bad example for our kids. We are teaching our kids to get on that hamster wheel. I’ve heard many people say they cannot get off. It’s not that they can’t, it’s simply they don’t realize they have the power to do so. They just have to make the decision and then step off.

Fatigue is mostly due to your choices. You are responsible. When I did my MBA it was my choice to do all the work assigned and do 100+ weeks for 11 months. That was just plain stupid! If you don’t address fatigue correctly, you may well be doing yourself some damage. Truck drivers here in the UK can only drive a set number of hours before they must take a break. This is to prevent accidents. Each truck is monitored to make sure this happens. They are fined if they don’t abide. We often see warning signs on the motorways that state, “Fatigue kills. Take a break.” On long hauls, our family takes regular breaks. If we are solo, we even will pull over and grab a nap.

Left too long fatigue could also lead you to do something stupid. When fatigued, we tend to make mistakes (more than expected) – most of which you could avoid. But can you really afford to make those mistakes when they can be avoided?

This reminds me of the story of the fictional swimmer who swam 1/2 way across the English Channel got tired, turned around and swam back. With better awareness this could have been avoided. If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter studying or stayed up working late to meet a work deadline you will know that you lose focus, you become more unproductive and you make more mistakes. The resultant work is rarely, if ever, your best. It begs the question…”Why?”.

Many of us aspire to attain work-life balance, but fail miserably. In the UK there is a directive that we are only to work 38.5 hours per week. Yeah right! Many still overwork. Why? It’s expected. To keep up appearances. To keep up. To “get ahead”. Even if we work a sane amount of hours, we never stop once we get home. We are driven by work and other outside influences that actually control our lives. We lack the drive to stop. We lack resolve to own our lives and take full control. Our priorities are actually in question.

You are like your car. Unless you service it regularly and fill it up with what it needs to keep going, it will breakdown / stop. Also, you can drive a car in the wrong gear and push the engine creating greater wear and tear. Either way, you can do irreparable damage. Fatigue can damage your performance, your career, your marriage, your family or even your life.

But fatigue and weariness need not happen. You can do something about it. Break the habit pattern. The power is yours. Stop letting your life run you. It’s time you take control of your life. Only then can you design it the way you truly want it.

Here’s a few of the choices I’ve made. Maybe one or more of these will help you too. Please add your own.

1. Take 1 day off from work per week as a minimum. Use that time to catch up on sleep, interests and key relationships.

2. Say “No” to more and “Yes” to less.

3. Diarise daily, activities that recharge your batteries mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. Hit the gym. Get a massage. Read a book. Go for a walk. Take a power nap. Pray etc.

4. Take a holiday. Make it technology free.

5. Commit time every day solely for those who matter most at home. I recommend at least an hour of your undivided attention.

Your life can feel like a constant battle. So much is vying for your time, energy and resources and much is draining you. You are left weary and fatigued. You want to do what’s right. What’s right is for you to take care of yourself first. Only then are you better placed to take care of your responsibilities at work, rest and play. Work more on your life than in it.

Your Powerplay

Start a new habit. Schedule energizing and relaxing down time / time out each day.

#BEGREATER

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Change Can Be Tough So Be Tougher

by Richard Norris on January 19, 2015

bigstock Football Player Close Up 759892 300x300 Change Can Be Tough So Be Tougher

Change Can Be Tough So Be Tougher

Change can be good or bad. Often it’s simply a matter of interpretation. Whatever the change, there is always an opportunity to grow one way or another. Change is rarely easy, but it’s usually worth it. When you learn to handle change, your life and leadership will change for the better.

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. To endure and make the most of change requires willpower.  To change calls for commitment. It requires mental toughness. Such mental durability doesn’t just happen. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes effort. It requires a challenge. It develops in adversity.

If you’re alive, you will have faced change. The question is really how you face it? Some people buckle. Some people resist. Some do their best to avoid it or delay it. Many see it as their enemy. Few face it and embrace it. It’s these few who most often are the ones who lead and succeed. It doesn’t matter if it’s in sport, business, academics, politics or whatever.

Up until only a few years ago, I wasn’t a fan of change – especially change that was imposed (real or perceived) upon me. I rarely avoided it, but I did drag my heels through it. I played victim. Why me? In short, my attitude sucked! Now looking back, I realise that when I did that, the change seemed to be harder, tougher and take longer. Like running into the wind, resisting change is harder. You use up what resources you have faster and don’t get far fast. Often when all is over you finish drained, stressed and scarred.

How do you respond to change?

The truth is that it’s better for you to see change as your friend not your enemy. A friend wants to help you. An enemy wants to defeat you. You may say that’s easier said than done. That’s true. No one ever said change was easy. Yet, it’s largely for the best. Parents ask their kids to change for the best. Coaches ask their athletes to change for the best. Leaders ask their people to change for the best. Circumstances demand we respond. In the face of change, we must always respond for the best.

My attitude and ability to endure change and the adversity that often occurs with it didn’t come easy. Years ago I had to change from my “dream career” as a veterinarian. I’ve learned to live with pay cuts. I’ve had to endure unemployment three times. I’ve had to live through the disappointments associated with numerous job rejections. I’ve overcome some very bad business deals and relationships. The global recession has been unkind financially. With the wrong attitude each of these initially kept me in a rut. A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out. Only when I took full responsibility for my attitude and actions did things begin to turn around.

Whatever your own situation, you are the solution. Don’t look somewhere else. Your best help starts with you. You must take ownership.

Change may be tough but it’s the doorway to your greater self.

Change pushes us beyond our comfort zone. Our comfort zone nurtures our existing habits. Such habits come naturally. Such habits, however, keep us where we are at. They won’t lead us to where we can ultimately be. Unless we have the mental toughness to boldly go where we haven’t gone before, we’ll recoil quickly back to our old ways and habits. Change requires new habits. New habits bring growth. New habits take time and effort. For new habits to replace old ones we must overcome our internal resistance. That demands focus on what is possible. It requires commitment to make it happen. It requires belief that you can.

Our ability to endure and thrive through and as a result of change relies on us being mentally tough, physically durable, emotionally resilient and spiritually strong. Our toughness needs to be holistic. In most instances, when I’ve not succeed at something, it’s because I lacked the mental toughness to see it through. My commitment was not 100%. Even today I believe I still have a long way to go. For years, I’ve disciplined my body physically through fitness and exercise regimes. I’ve developed spiritually and emotionally through prayer, meditation and assimilating feedback. Yet, my battle zone continues to be my mind.

The mind is a battlefield. It’s a battle that wages afresh every day. Your ally is you. Your enemy is you. Both are your inner voice. One is rooting and working for you. The other is condemning and working against you. Whichever you listen to most will win the day. Your prevailing voice will determine how change will affect you. Be mindful each day which side you are on.

There are countless stories of how people have defied the odds. Little girls surviving plane crashes and, though injured, going for help. Fallen mountain climbers with shattered bodies crawling miles to be rescued. Sickly children, like Wilma Rudolph, who go on to become Olympic champions. Refugees walking thousands of miles to gain their freedom. History is awash with such stories. You cannot help read them and be inspired. Human will and determination can turn the impossible into the incredible. Such stories therefore encourage me that if someone else can got to such extremes, then what I’m facing is likely far more doable.

When stuff gets tough we get stressed. Change brings with it stress. One way to ensure that you come through change stronger is through managing the associated stress – be it big or small. How you manage your stress is up to you. Look over your past where you’ve come through change positively. Guaranteed there will be things you did that enabled you to come through. I use exercise, prayer and quiet time daily to ensure my stress is minimized and my fortitude is strengthened. One day per week I switch off completely. My worries, concerns, problems etc I just park. They can wait a day. By the time I get back to them often they are smaller and more manageable because I am better prepared.

No matter what direction change comes from, realise that you are ultimately in control of its effect. Your control begins with your attitude. Maintain the right attitude and you build resilience in the face of adversity and change. Get your head in the game. For you to deal with change, you must first deal with yourself. When you change who you are it’s easier to change what you do.

Your Powerplay

Make a mental note. Tough it out. Learn all you can from the change before you and put it to good use.

#BEGREATER

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In God We Trust?

January 15, 2015

In God We Trust? Many people today seem to have trust issues. Some don’t even trust themselves let alone others. Yet, there is ONE person we can trust yet, so often, fail to – God. I’ve had my share of trust challenges. Not surprising when there have been some key relationships I’ve had who have […]

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