Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Collect experiences, not things

A few days ago at work we had a meeting to discuss the future of the business, our plans, our goals, our see where I'm going with this. We had that same meeting you quietly have with yourself to figure out where you came from, where you're at and where you're headed. There was something we brought up that really struck me and I can't help but draw the parallel between that and my own life. We said that people value experiences. It isn't the the product itself that people value but they way that they interact with it and the feelings associated with that. For instance, a super high tech coffee maker is great and convenient, yet people are still drawn to things like an indie produced pour over coffee maker. Yes, its visually striking and sure a few probably just wanted to support the cause, but at the end of the day what people really love about it is that its a pain in the ass. It can't be done quickly, you have to consciously make an effort to take time to use and yet, that's what you enjoy. You value that time you spent doing it, the feeling of accomplishment when it was over and the fulfilment of savoring the fruits of your labor.

Its not about the thing, its about the experience. If it was simply a product it would fade into the background as static noise. You wouldn't care about it or notice when its gone. When you're truly a part of something it carries a different value. You want to show it off to your friends.

The same can be said for your life. Focus on the experiences. Sure a new pair of shoes can be great, but ultimately its about what you're doing in those shoes. Making the moments count. Find a new place to travel or take a class about something you've always wanted to learn. Collect experiences, not things.

Stress is a killer

I often find that my biggest obstacle in staying on track is my work/life balance. I've recently realized just how precious this relationship is as I watch people around me crumble in the wake of a disruptive balance. First of all, you need to love what you do. Just simply surviving and existing isn't enough. I tried that and I was miserable. I made excuses like oh I'll have time and money for the things I do enjoy so its not that bad. It was. I didn't have time and when I did I simply didn't have the energy to do what I really wanted. Last year at this time I sat myself down and seriously reevaluated my priorities and goals. Things were slowly set into motion and I've made significant progress, but like with all things there is always room for improvement.

 Now I find myself facing new challenges and realizing its time to sit down and focus my energy on what's most important. People often say that New Years is about resolutions and reinventing yourself. Its not. Its about digging deep to figure out your purpose and your plan then dedicating your energy towards accomplishing that. Its always been there, some small part of you, just waiting to be fostered, nurtured, cared for and ready to flourish. The key is striking a balance between all the things in your life.

 Obviously there will be times when one thing takes more attention than others but its so vital to get things back under control after its over. My work life has been so stressful that I'm barely sleeping. Its sucking away my time and energy, leaving very little for anything else. Thankfully I had already planned a weekend getaway for the next few days which will help be rest and regroup. Sometimes you just need a break. If you're constantly burning at both ends you'll eventually just fizzle out. I've been there before. Stretching yourself so thin that nothing is truly getting the attention it deserves.

I'm learning to let go and realizing that sometimes its OK to let others help. My path to self discovery and betterment has brought so many incredible people in my life that have each taken some part of the burden on. They help to keep me balanced. Whether its accountability check ins or simply taking me out to lunch, these small gestures are exactly what I need to keep my mental health in check. It isn't always easy and I often feel like climbing into a cave to hibernate for a week til it all blows over. But then I remember how much potential I have, it doesn't deserve to be squandered.