It’s 7 p.m. on a Saturday evening in Norman, OK and our crew, four friends in our forties, are on our way to meet our other sorority sisters for dinner on Campus Corner.
I yawn. Several times. “Are you gonna make it through the night?” Melissa asks.
I nod, stifling another yawn. “Yeah. I just need my second wind, that’s all.”
“You better!” She says.
We park and get out the car to find this painted brick mural. Well, you can’t say the Universe wasn’t listening! Second Wind is a coffee shop, but it got me to thinking about not just getting our second wind when it comes to being tired, but our second wind for reaching our goals for the rest of this year, as we sit here in mid-July; and, even bigger picture – our second wind for the second half of our lives.
Personal Brand Power relies on our ability to give our best, but we know our best differs from day to day. What works one day or year or decade may simply not cut it the other times. Why? Because nothing stays the same. Nothing. Everything changes. While knowing ourselves – understanding our personality type and searching for that elusive True Self – does help tremendously, the circumstances in our lives – and yes, our own ego – tries to shush the inner voice and keep the status quo. It’s rough.
In a day, a second wind surge might require a quick walk, a little mindfulness (focusing our attention back to the present moment and taking some good deep breaths), a healthy snack, or yeah, maybe that cup of half-caff in the afternoon or even a pick-me-up call to a good friend.
But some things do remain constant and true and can help us no matter what over the long haul – and that certainly help us in reaching our goals. Let’s begin there.
Wellness – so, ugh, it’s not like this isn’t the buzz word everywhere now (along with self-care) BUT besides it becoming a bit commercial, the heart of it is true. We DO need to take care of our minds and bodies and rest. Do a quick scan of these items. How would you rate how they are going in your life?
- Health — awareness + action + being our best advocate for our overall health. When we feel well, we are better equipped to perform well. Annual check-ups (bloodwork, mammogram, and the recommended check-ups as we age.) How’s your blood pressure? Your cholesterol? Hormones? Just because you are feeling fine doesn’t mean you are – sadly. My thyroid is off and my cholesterol is a bit high yet I eat mostly healthy and have no side effects of my thyroid being wacky. Are you relying on medications in place of making lifestyle changes? All good things to get real about. So go check!
- Mental Health — how’s your stinkin’ thinkin’? Get real about your mental health (and pay attention to your loved ones, too) – depression, anxiety, anger management, etc. Have you ever seen a therapist to deal with past and current issues? Why not? Are you letting stigma or perception keep you away? After reading the fabulous book, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone“, it reminded me how important therapy is in our society. I decided to go back for an “annual” check-up just as I did for my body! (I went more regularly in the past.) It is good to hear from a professional who can help you focus on what you are feeling, not dismissing your feelings, and working on strategies about said feelings! As an ENTP type, I prefer to bury my feelings, talk myself out of them, and distract myself with something fun so believe me when I say, it’s NOT my comfort zone. But so, so good. We all struggle with SOMETHING so it’s for everyone. Even if you aren’t ready to see a therapist, it’s good to check in with yourself about your feelings. Journal them. Pay attention and care for your feelings as you do for others.
- Movement a.k.a. fitness a.k.a exercise — So it seems most people say they “hate exercise” but what we are really talking about is just moving our bodies. Because many of us have sedentary jobs and our society is more about drive thrus and fast and easy versus hunting our food or even having to get up to answer the telephone or change the TV channel, we don’t move much – at all. If I don’t MAKE MYSELF MOVE I will get less than 1K steps in a day! Experts say we should get around 5K, but I basically get 6K 3x a week when I go to the gym OR plan an activity outside like getting 5K yesterday at the Zoo or getting 5-10K per day on Game Days (football) or on vacation or a hiking expedition. In other words, most of us have to BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT MOVING. This isn’t an exercise post, but I’ve done PLENTY in the past so pursue them or simply Google something active you’ve been wanting to try. Invite your partner. Get a girl gang to work out with. In my Chicks in Charge group, we created #fitChicks to share tips on eating well, taking care of our mental health, and exercising together. The cool thing is that moving is directly tied to the first two points so it all works together. When I work out, I have more energy and stamina to work hard and reach my goals. Let’s get moving!
- Nature a.k.a. outdoors — Experts are all agreeing that “forest bathing” and getting out in an nature reaps benefits for our mind, body and spirit. We all know how amazing trees are for us so fill your lungs and simply sit (or better yet walk) in nature a bit each day to watch wildlife and let yourself just BE.
- Sleep a.k.a. Zzzzzzzs + Rest – This one should’ve been number one maybe as I think it’s the number one factor in how I’ll feel and perform that day. The reason I needed a Second Wind Saturday night was because I didn’t sleep well the night before. (We stayed up late, I had too much wine, etc.) I know for a fact that my body and mind require 7 hours of sleep per night (7.5 even better) so I will be sluggish if I get less than that or it’s poor quality. So do what you must to get yourself a good night’s rest. Rest also means allowing yourself some downtime. Some time to literally do nothing, to say no when you want to say no and to rejuvenate however you wish. The sorority reunion was a wonderful respite from my day to day and a good reminder to reconnect and a lot of the other things mentioned in here. Give yourself permission to rest – and retreat when you need. Even if it’s just a retreat t the couch. 🙂
- Nutrition a.k.a. what are you stuffing your face with — Confesh: I don’t love veggies. I like the baby tomatoes we grow in our garden. (And it’s in salsa! 🙂 But I make myself eat them as a side. Thank God I love avocados because they are a superfood, but I know I have to pay attention to nutrition because we can’t go on fad diets and expect things to turn out well, but on the other hand, we have to search for what’s right for our bodies including if we are getting the right nutrients for our aging bodies and if we are eating too much sugar (so bad!) or the wrong fats or that our bodies need us to be lactose-free or gluten-free. So being your own advocate is so important on this front. Who is feeding you? (You. And who you let feed you is up to you. Like, I let McDonalds feed me their breakfast burritos but I know I shouldn’t’ let them feed me Quarter Pounders very often, ha!) Even if your spouse or roommate bought the food, who is putting the chip to the lips? Who is driving through the drive through instead of to the grocery store? (I’m so guilty of this!) We are literally at the wheel of our food choices so while there is plenty of blame to the food industry and a society where a bigger portion size means better value (wrong!), at the end of the day, it’s our body, our choice to fuel it with the right nutrition. Hydration is also so important for our brain function and experts say it has an immediate impact on our thinking. So drink that full glass first thing in the morning and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. P.S. Not giving up cheese. But planning ahead is really the key to so much of Personal Brand Power! Being intentional requires planning so we aren’t rushing.
K, so that’s like the Big Six on how to keep our Personal Brand Power at an optimum range. Some things that can drain that power would be things like OVERINDULGENCE – to food, shopping, alcohol, workaholism, drama (yes, some folks are addicted to drama.) To me, an overindulgence lifestyle in any area points back to one of the above not being looked after. Another big drain is who you are around. If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle for example, but your friends keep trying to drag you to taco night and say you don’t need to exercise or lose weight or quit drinking OR WHATEVER, then that’s not a positive tribe who will support your growth.
You are the Hunter and it’s your Bow & Arrows to look at your life and figure out what and why this stuff is happening and bring in whatever resources necessary to help with that. I will say the following also helped me TREMENDOUSLY, which is why I incorporate it in all of my talks and workshops and organizations…
Understanding Your Personality Type. You can take the Myers Briggs here and the Enneagram here. (for free, woot!) It helps us understand the lens we see the world through and how we relate and what our fears are. This is why I mention types so often because it’s an a-ha moment for me to know it’s something pushing up against my natural personality that I have to work through it and also to work WITH it to achieve the “Healthy” status on the types (You can be a healthy type or an unhealthy type.) And that helps me to work better with all the other types! I can understand they see things differently, will react differently, and that no one right way is perfect. (But tell that to a Type 1.) lol It can help you with your career, daily productivity, and relationships, so that’s why I feel so strongly about it. By learning the ins and outs of being an ENTP “Visionary” it helps me to create more opportunities for sharing ideas and leading, but also know when I’m getting bored that I need to stay focused and finish the task! And my Type 7 “The Enthusiast” is great for event planning and rallying the troops but I also have to do the boring stuff and actually deal with my feelings and learn to sit with others (and not fix) others when they are suffering. See? That’s pretty profound for you to know what happens to you when you get stressed out and how to grow to serve others better.
NOTE: this is NOT to be used against people nor put them in a box. No type is better than another and often healthy types can work well and have great relationships with all other types. It actually helps us see that we can’t change people, but we can all work to grow beyond our own limits while staying true to who we are.
Taking a Get Real Life Inventory. Beyond the Big Six and the Power Drains, there’s the Rest of the Story…
Your Work. How’s it going? Does it fulfill you? Do you need a change? A promotion? What could you add or subtract? Do you want to start your own gig? Go back to school to study something you were really interested to begin with but got talked out of it? Or a new thing has come along due to advances in our culture or technology? Do it! Note: it’s NOT a failure to switch careers, and because we are living longer, most folks end up having many jobs and more than one career in their lifetime! And those of us who are multi-passionate might do more than one thing at a time and switch more often than most. That’s okay. You are normal. Like normal crazy, which is even better. What will it take to reach your business goals? Start with strategy, then add tactics. (A lot of people jump straight to tactics so it’s all over the place.) Break it down into chunks and assign the tasks to whomever best fits that role. (Maybe it’s not you.) Commit. Focus. Shed the things not working and embrace new ideas and a plan B when needed.
Your Relationships. Because we do grow and change. Because we do move from stages of life. Because we do change jobs. Because we do move to new neighborhoods or new cites. Because we do have baggage. Because we are trying to be better. So many reasons why our relationships ebb and flow and new people come in and out and people who were mainstays can move on. One of the most helpful things I read is that just because a relationship ended doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful. A relationship isn’t just successful because you have it until you die! That applies to family, to marriages, to friends. Sometimes a relationship runs its course and what you thought was a “roots” relationship is a big branch or weak limb or even a leaf! A friendship or a job or romance isn’t a failure just because it ended. Think long and hard on that. Have you judged others based on that? Do you judge yourself by that? Eckhart Tolle says we have three choices to any situation: accept it, change it, or leave it. He doesn’t say, bury it or distract yourself or ignore it or complain forever about it, does he? (But oh, it’s so much easier, yeah?) But not in the long run!
Toxic relationships are on a whole ‘other level, but it’s important to realize that we can’t fix people and toxic people may not have the agency to do the work to remain in a relationship. That’s always worth repeating. Sometimes you have to walk away from toxic people for your own mental health because those can be the biggest Power Drains of them all. Are there people in your life or work who are toxic?
Just as important to our Personal Brand Power is community and having a sense of belonging. It’s why I’m so active in my sorority and why I started Chicks in Charge for boss Chicks. Where are you plugged in? Who helps foster your growth? Think about where you could grow your circle of influence and where you could help others. Give more than you take.
Humans are resilient. Our hearts mend. New relationships form. Time goes on. You deserve a tribe who is supportive and uplifting and when you find them, love them hard!
Your Time. How are you? Busy. SCREEEEECH! Busy is not HOW you are. Busy may be WHAT you are, but it’s not a how. What’s up? Oh, just busy! Huh? Busy isn’t what’s up. I know it’s a horrible habit we get into, but the best way to curb it is to really think about our time and how we spend it. (And think about how you might respond instead of “busy”. Awesome. Life is good. Happy to be here. How are you? Even a “fine” is just fine. What do we put our energy into? Take an inventory of your day.
How many hours a day are you on your phone? Your phone can tell you that, by the way.
How present are you to the people and activities in your life?
If you are simply “running around letting life run you” then it’s very doubtful that you’ll get that promotion or start the company or fix the relationship or go on the adventure. And then guess what? Time will run out. And you don’t know when that day is, so you may as well be doing the things that matter and planting the seeds and watering your grass NOW. Someday will continue to be someday until you put the actions into place and make it happen.
Someday I’ll find a true love. Someday I’ll go to Paris. Someday I’ll write a book. Like, whatever it is, do the baby steps EACH DAY to move toward that goal. Don’t keep the goal in the clouds as a dream. Then, I promise you, it will never happen. A ticket to Paris will not just land in your mailbox. A published novel with your name on the spine will not magically appear on your bookshelf. A perfect mate will not just appear on the doorstep with a ring in a box without all the work up until that point.
That’s what I mean about getting real. The only magic is in focusing on the present moment and putting all of yourself into what you are doing. Put the phone down. Kiss your partner. Listen to your kid talk about his day. Help your neighbor if you can. Journal. Make plans. Do the work. Go on adventures. I call it Focus Pocus and WE are the magician!
Live your one fabulous life to the fullest. That’s your Second Wind. That’s how you reach your goals and make your dreams come alive. Whether it’s the second part of your day, your year, or your life, it’s worth examining and acting on it. Every day is a new day to live fully. I believe in you, and I hope you believe in yourself, too. You are worthy of living the life you want, but it’s up to you to go get it.
Cheers, friends. xoxo
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