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What Do You Need?

What Do You Need?

This is my last post before the Christmas holidays and I take a little vacation with my family (Ireland here we come!!). I want to wish you the most happiest of holidays, whatever you celebrate! I hope you are able to spend time with family and friends and give back to those less fortunate. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read my posts and share them with your colleagues. 2017 will bring many new exciting developments to LiveMore including launching LiveMore Masterminds for Project Managers and other leadership niches, details to follow in January. It is a privilege to serve you and I promise to continue delivering high-value content through this blog and other outlets.  

Are your needs being met?

Several times in the last three months I have felt overwhelmed with all the things I WANTED to accomplish. At the time they sure felt like a NEED but in retrospect, just about everything I thought I needed was really a WANT. My world would have carried on if they weren’t accomplished or at least not perfectly. This list entailed business projects, house projects and family time.

In this uneasy time, I was not completing my work to the best of my ability and I felt like I was being a poor parent, spouse, and leadership consultant. As a person who has high expectations for myself, this was a horrible feeling that I could not tolerate for long without something breaking down in my life.

overwhelmMany of us with ‘first world problems’ call this survival mode, where you boil down your priorities and focus on only the most important items to get through the day. The good thing is that I was not going to be eaten in the jungle but there were many important aspects of my life that keep me fulfilled and operating to the best of my ability that weren’t being met.

The element that caused me to seek more control in my life and manage the ‘overwhelm’ was my relationship with my children. I am usually a pretty mild mannered, patient guy but I noticed it wasn’t taking much of a poor behavior outburst from the kids for me to lose my temper. I realize losing your cool from time to time is part of parenting but for me, I was getting to that stage too quick and I didn’t feel good about it.

At first, I went searching for answers in books and articles to find out why my kids were behaving this way. I found some great information but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was probably the main cause of the situation.

Shawn Stratton I slowly realized I was blaming my kids for my lack of time to balance work, my health, and family duties. When they would start acting out as 3 and 5-year olds do, my brain would say “not again, not this time” I have too much to do for you to go on like this.

Once I discovered this and spoke to my wife about it, she offered to take the kids away for the weekend with her brother so I would have some space to breath, get caught up in business projects and take some time to relax and go for a few runs. This time also allowed me to discover what I really needed for operating at the level I expect from myself and come up with a plan to allow those elements in my life.

Too often, we live our life by putting ourselves last in the priority chain.

When you are in a space of overwhelm and are quick to blame different aspects of your life, i.e. your boss, your kids, or the traffic, they are not causing the feeling. Your reaction is causing the feeling.

You can’t choose what happens to you, you can only choose how you react.”

The kids don't care about your time!

The kids don’t care about your time!

There will always be aspects of your life that put tremendous demands on you and you are the only one who can choose how to react to the situations. My kids will always throw tantrums and will often resist getting out the door in the morning (at least for the next few years) and I need to accept this and come up with a plan that will allow me to feel good about how I react in an appropriate way.

The best way to think clearly and act appropriately is by identifying your ‘ needs’ and having them in place. Sure, in a crisis, you can perform great feats without having all your needs met but that is not sustainable, as eventually, you will crack.

For example, my daily (or every other day) needs are: 7 hours sleep, exercise, eating healthy, and a few solid hours of productive work. Once these elements are incorporated into my life, I am a much better parent, husband, community builder and leadership consultant.

It all starts with you! Acknowledge your needs, implement them and you will be a much better leader for the people you serve.  

Think about what you need in your daily life to operate at a high level.

Action: Write down 2 to 4 things you need in your daily life to operate at a high level. Share the list with your spouse and build a life routine that incorporates these needs.

Embrace all the adventures this holiday season brings to you! 

Talk to you in 2017!!


Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author and Ironman competitor.

Click here to learn more about how Shawn can help your organization.

© 2016 Shawn Stratton. All rights reserved.