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Nose to the Grindstone—Are You Spending Your Time Wisely?

Written by Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert

THERE’S ONLY ONE ENEMY hovering silently in your life. What’s that, you ask? Time! Watch people.time and stress management tips They’re totally overwhelmed trying to control their work and personal schedules. Trapped in the domination of Enemy Number One, you can see them sulking and hear them huffing: “I’m sooooo busy! I have too much to do, and no time to do it!”

Do you feel like your nose is always to the grindstone? What consumes your time? In an O Magazine issue, Oprah wrote: “How you spend your time defines who you are. I try not to waste time — because I don’t want to waste myself.” Of that same notion, I recently heard a seventy-year-old woman say, “I don’t read books unless they heal my body, mind and spirit. Each day is too precious. I am conscious about whom I share time with and whether I will go to a movie or paint. Solitude is a key part of my day — that’s when I stop to meditate — I invite God into my life.” While this woman was conscious that being present to her actions and choices allowed her to acknowledge her spirit (as if it was her last day), we don’t have to wait for retirement to experience this.

Slowing down could be the single most effective action to initiate your courage: it allows you to come from your “heart and spirit,” the origin of the word. What would happen if you stopped for ten minutes, right now? Spiritual teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., suggests that we stop for a moment all the doing and shift into the “being mode.” How? Don’t make one more phone call. Don’t sit and catch up on the business journals piling up on the floor by your reading chair. Don’t boot up to check if any new emails came in, and turn off the television. This stress management guru reminds us that when we “stop” we can be more present. Transformation in courage has to do with moving what you know to be true to a deeper level. Then, your life becomes more vivid and simpler.

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, trainer and courage coach. She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman (2001), the follow-up book STUCK 12 Steps Up the Leadership Ladder (2010) and the recently released FACE IT! 12 Obstacles that Hold You Back on the Job (2011). She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.

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