“I know I’m late. But I don’t feel like I’m being productive or that I’ve achieved my goals unless I’m rushing and at least a half-hour late for each appointment,” said my client as he burst through the door and sprinted past me toward our conference room.
My internal reaction was: Well, Vic, you must feel a great sense of accomplishment today! He had arrived one and a half hours past our scheduled appointment time. Although I didn’t share his philosophy, something in his behavior rang a bell with me. Perhaps I was in awareness-mode, because several weeks later I admitted my own workaholic lifestyle. I was burned-out and wanted to change.
Slowly I began to understand that the narrower definition of a workaholic is someone who is addicted to action. An action addict (like Vic and me) is driven to do too much, expect too much, rush too much and prove too much. Some refer to it as the “hurry sickness.” It can happen to either gender, yet Dr. Brent W. Bost, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Beaumont, Texas estimates that there are 30 million women in America who are so over-scheduled and over-stressed that it negatively affects their physical health, sex life, jobs, and relationships.
The next time someone gives you the ultimate compliment for an action-addict: “You’re so busy. How do you do it all?” consider letting that be a signal to STOP. The antidote to action-addiction is to cease doing for a while. Be quiet. Rest. It will feel wrong. Your body, mind and emotions tell you that you must keep going.
This advice to cease doing for a while reminds me of Psalm 46:10 in The Message: “[Stop!] Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
Experts insist that this is a vital step, just as it is important for the alcoholic-addicted person to stop drinking. Your body needs to detox from the chemicals aroused by your constant action. It will be quite difficult--and so worth it. For more information about action-addiction watch for next week's blog “Are You an Adrenaline Junkie?”
What would it take for you to STOP for a while?
Yesterday was "Fight Procrastination Day" and I procrastinated in posting this blog to my site. Does that mean I put the "PRO" in procrastination?
The dictionary indicates that to procrastinate means to defer action, to delay until an opportunity is lost. Dr. Ellis, a counselor who specializes in the issue of procrastination, defines procrastination as deciding to do something and then not doing it.
Now, I want to clarify something. Delay and procrastination are not the same thing. There may be a legitimate reason for a delay. Procrastination is "to delay until it is too late."
For example, say you received the brochure for a conference related to your field of interest. You read it, the workshops looked beneficial to you and you made the decision to go. But then you set the info aside and put off following through by calling to ask your questions, checking your calendar and registering...until it was too late. Then the day of the conference arrived and the opportunity was gone. You missed it.
If this is your modus operandi and you really want to do it differently, there is hope. You can change.
And here are 10 practical tips for ceasing to put the "PRO" in procrastination. (Not in order of importance)
Which tip will you try this week?
Maybe It's Compassion Fatigue
“Perfectionists minimize their moral and ethical plus-side and magnify their failings,” writes Miriam Elliott and Susan Meltsner in the book The Perfectionist Predicament. I’ve noticed this phenomenon in clients, friends, family members and yes, even myself. (No surprise, huh?)
I watched one woman hang her head in shame when her job circumstances prevented her from attending a church meeting. Another mentioned how bad she felt that her sick child kept her from having her private prayer time for a few days.
I can give myself grief for not posting an inspirational blog on time or taking too long to respond to a hurting person who sent me an email over the weekend. What’s wrong with you, Joan? It’s like we set up unrealistic spiritual expectations and then worry that God is disappointed in us.
However, here’s what I’m learning (and I love it): God doesn’t withdraw His grace, compassion or support when we fall short in our own eyes. Once we accept the invitation to be His child, He’ll never change His mind. He gives us unique spiritual gifts and then employs us for service accordingly. God’s gift of grace, as well as His promise to comfort, provide for and protect us, are undeserved benefits. His call and gifts are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29)
Grace is the face love wears when it meets IMPERFECTION! Will you give yourself a little “grace” today?
Annette! My twin-cousin Jean and I loved that name. We watched Annette Funicello on TV. Jean and I even dreamed of naming our daughters (someday in the future) that pretty name, “Annette.” (Jean on left. Joan on right in photo. How about that "pompadour"??)
But we couldn’t both have daughters named Annette. Solution: Jean’s first-born was a girl and she named her “Annette.” She was (and is!) beautiful just like Annette Funicello; dark hair, glowing olive skin, lovely smile. I named my first-born (a girl, also!) Lynnette. She’s beautiful, too, with blond hair, fairer skin and a gorgeous smile.
Then I grew up to write a book about how joy and imperfection can co-exist titled The Relief of Imperfection. Annette Funicello grew up to act, dance and sing in movies, eventually developing multiple sclerosis and showing us all that indeed joy, pain and imperfection can co-exist.
Annette Funicello said, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!” Her words so impressed me that I quoted her on page 123 of The Intentional Woman book that I co-wrote with Carol Travilla. And two books later, Annette’s quote led way to the title of my devotional book, It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life, for women who strive too hard to make it all just right.
It’s amazing how one person can personally impact another and never know about it. One article I read quoted Annette Funicello as saying, “I thank God I just didn’t wake up one morning and not be able to walk. You learn to live with it [MS]. …This just makes me appreciate the Lord even more because things could always be worse. I know he will see me through this.” After Annette’s death on Monday, April 8, 2013 in Bakersfield (the city where my two children were born), her daughter Gina said, “She’s on her toes dancing in heaven … no more MS.”
Annette Funicello touched my life in numerous personal ways, although she didn’t know it here on this earth. Whether we realize it or not, we impact and influence others during our lives, also. That truth encourages to me today, because sometimes (I admit it!) I stress about whether I’ve done enough for God or if I’ve made a difference in the lives of the people He planned for me to touch. So today I’ll cease trying so hard to make that happen and let God orchestra the connections. He can do it, just like He connected Annette and me.
Do you have an “Annette Funicello” story? Or a thought about how God makes connections that inspire? Please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
I’m tired. Maybe you are, also. Yet God isn’t tired.
He never feels too exhausted to paint His sky brilliant blue or toss white clouds in for contrast. Every day He creates a majestic creative masterpiece in the Colorado mountains whether I’m there or not. (And I’m not often, since I live in the entirely different beauty of the Arizonan desert). But last weekend I breathed, walked, prayed, discovered, and interacted in the crisp (29-32 degrees) clear mountain air. Remember when I mentioned that I was flying to a Life Coaching Summit in Breckenridge, CO?
Here’s what I saw at the trail head:
[Below] And while standing amazed at Hoosier Pass-The Continental Divide (11,600 miles high.) I had on 7 layers to keep warm!
[Below] And while walking in the marsh behind the cabin that housed all fifteen of us with room to spare. (Janai, that’s you in the window!) Notice the moon?
[Below] With my tribe of Life Coaches/Transformational Workers (Janai, Joan, Dawnita, Sarah)
How my heart has expanded to love these women who I never knew until 18 months ago!
[Below] Yes, it snowed! (And while 90 degrees back home!) I’ve always loved the combination of white-tipped mountains and pine trees drizzled like snow-cones. Tall evergreens make me feel appropriately small AND loved by the BIG God who makes them.
And then just because God knows how much I LOVE flowers, He sent one to greet me in Denver. Thanks, Dawnita, for holding it still in the fierce wind. It was almost colder in Denver than in Breckenridege!)
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.