Life is stressful, there’s no doubt about it. But you have the choice to maintain a different perspective, instead of letting stress overtake you every day. Here are four steps to reduce stress and live a well-balanced life:
Step one: Get clear on your purpose
Living life on your own terms requires clarity of purpose. Do you know what matters to you most, and why? Consider the life wheel. There are eight buckets on the wheel: family, work, money, personal growth, health and wellness, spirituality, community and living environment. You must decide which three or four are most important to you, and why. Time is limited, which means you can’t weight all life areas equally. When you know your “what” and your “why,” you’ve got power—the power to dial up the time and energy for what matters most, and the power to pull back on what doesn’t.
Step two: Dial up GUTS over FEAR
Living life on your own terms requires guts over fear. The guts to cure the disease to please. Be gutsy enough to press pause on perfection. Be gutsy enough to stop and ask the question, “Do I need to add value here?” And be gutsy enough to say no to adding more monkeys onto your back. By being gutsy enough to embrace some “no’s,” you’ll reduce stress, increase productivity and regain hours of time each week.
Step three: Let go of judgement
Living life on your own terms requires you to stop judging yourself when you fall short. We all fail, in large and small ways. Accept the moments you miss the mark by saying, “Oh well, I’m human” instead of, “O.M.G. I’ll never work again—I’m a failure!” A forgiving attitude is critical for keeping your energy focused forward—and your sanity.
Step four: Shed your “shoulds”
Living life on your own terms requires you to shed your shoulds. You should accept that job. You should join that board. You should take on that new client. “Shoulds” are the things we do out of obligation because we have not thoughtfully considered our true objectives. Often, they are derived from fear: What if I never get another opportunity like this? What will others think of me? What will I think of me? Here’s the thing: If you can’t say no, then your yes doesn’t mean anything. Think about that. Your commitment to something means much less when you’re committed to everything. So, shed your “shoulds,” and make your “yeses” count. (Download my free guide to shedding the shoulds here.)
It’s your life, and you only get one of it. Own it. Claim it. Love it.