GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO LIVE FREE OF THE GRIND MIND
Want to make each day a Maximal Day?
Every evening at the stroke of midnight, exactly 1,440 minutes are deposited into your personal time account. These minutes are the seeds of potential and the future composite of our very lives. Not to sound too dramatic, but how can the importance of something as precious and as finite as time really be overstated?
Every minute we are given is another opportunity to create more of those moment. You know the ones I’m talking about: The moments we live for. Like the first time I saw my wife.
Well, actually I heard her voice before I turned around to see her. We were at a friend’s gathering, and her laugh caught my attention. The day of my graduation, my children’s birthdays, every major event in my life has been a culmination of several minutes and hours spent making choices and taking several small actions that accumulate into the sum total of my future.
Every minute of every day, we are creating our lives.
Sometimes that can seem like a lot of pressure! It’s almost as though time is slipping through our fingers, and we should be working every minute of every day if we ever want to get ahead. Ahead of what? Ahead of our competitors. Ahead of our finances. Ahead of our schedules, so that we can finally reach a point where we can slow down and enjoy our lives, and spend more time with our families. Sound familiar?
Who makes those rules that say…
- “There’s not enough time”?
- “There’s not enough success to go around”?
- “There’s only one way to get ahead”?
Society certainly promotes the Grind Mind, and the media constantly floods our minds with unrealistic impressions of what a “good life” is supposed to look like: Get all the stuff, and all the big, expensive status symbols, arrange them just so, and then you’ll be happy!
Work work, work, so you can spend, spend, spend.
Keep your noses down, and your wallets open.
That’s the mainstream cultural conditioning in our society today. It operates with a singular purpose: to make us better consumers.
There is nothing wrong with having a strong work ethic and producing results. It’s what Maximal Achievers do. But let’s get real, right here, right now: There is such a thing as working too hard. I know, because I’ve been there and done that.
So, how do you know if you are working too hard?
When you find yourself regularly ignoring the body’s reports. When you feel you must “push through” mental fatigue and physical exhaustion every day. When a lunch break is something you skip or scarf and just means it’s quieter around the office, and you can get more work done. When the end of office hours at night means a chance to be alone to get caught up on emails, and voice messages.
Before you know it, the Grind Mind has taken over. And while it does have its appeal, and it can be quite a rush, there is a price to pay for ignoring the body’s reports: Focusing all our energy, and spending all our minutes at work can yield work-related benefits: more titles, more deals, more money, and more work.
More money is cool and is nice to have, but let’s consider the actual cost of the Grind Mind.
The tricky thing about the Grind Mind is that we usually aren’t doing it just for ourselves. Much of our labor, is a labor of love. We have spouses or significant others we want to make proud. We have children we want to provide bright futures for. We have parents we want to have access to good healthcare, and often we have employees whose families also rely on the work and the income we help generate.
But here’s the truth: As our families’ protectors and providers, as leaders within our businesses, and as contributors to our communities, we often forget to protect and provide for own body. We forget to take care of ourselves until it’s too late. Until we are forced to take those long overdue breaks, all at once, due to illness or injury.
Imagine this, you are driving down the highway at night, and the needle on your fuel gauge is dipping and hovering around empty. You are extremely focused on reaching your destination. Nothing seems more important. Out of the corner of your eye, you notice a red warning light blinking, but you press the gas pedal down a little further. You see a sign for the next exit.
There is a gas station. The exit approaches, and you blow right past it. You just can’t stop, you have to keep going. Another exit approaches. The last chance to pull over for 100 miles. The red light on the dash blinks faster now, and it’s joined by an occasional beeping sound. You can feel the car handling differently, but you just keep driving and don’t stop. You have to keep moving. You can’t afford to lose momentum. What’s going to happen? You’ll get about 10 miles past the final exit and find yourself stranded along a dark stretch of road.
Now obviously, we would never do such a thing. It makes no sense. We realize that the time we’d lose waiting to get our car back on the road after a breakdown far outweighs the time it takes to pull over and refuel. We see further down the road than just right in front of us. In order to make it to our destination at all, we have to make sure our vehicle has what it needs to travel the distance.
We wouldn’t ignore the signs of our car telling us that something is about to go wrong. So why do we, as a culture, so often ignore the clear warning signals our body is sending you?
A car is a valuable asset, and we rely on it to run properly. It would be a terrible investment to purchase a nice vehicle and then not maintain it. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it: Your value to your family, your business, and your community is greatly depleted when you are exhausted and already running on fumes before you ever get around to meeting your own basic needs for well-being. Do that for days, and you will feel grim. Do it for weeks, and you will feel fatigue and exhaustion.
Do it for months and your immune and other body systems will begin to falter. Do it for years and you could be stopped dead in your tracks. It’s not the easiest truth to accept, but deep down, we all know it’s true.
Why wait until something goes wrong? Maximal Achiever Robert Ingersoll observed, “In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.”
Your most valuable asset
A recent study revealed that Americans are 50% more likely to take a sick pet to the vet than they are to make an appointment for themselves to see a doctor. I love pets just as much as the next guy, but isn’t the well-being of my entire family are more reliant upon my own health and longevity?
We would never expect someone we care about to go without rest, never letting up, and never having any fun. Ask anyone close to you and they’ll tell you they feel the same way — they would rather you were taking care of yourself so they can enjoy having you in their lives for as long as humanly possible.
The best favor you can do for anyone who loves you and relies on you is to remember that you are your most valuable asset, and give yourself permission to prioritize your health.
Maximal Achievers are still human, after all. When we don’t get enough nourishment, care and rest, we get sick, tired and unfocused. When we don’t get enough connection with our loved ones, we get lonely, irritable, and reactionary. When we never get outside or engage in recreational activities, we get depressed, fatigued, and restless.
Knowing the state of our body is just as important as knowing that a car running on no gas will eventually break down somewhere along the road.
Everything we do requires energy. Energy is key to all our solutions, for securing our futures, for enjoying our families, for participating in our communities. Time is finite, but energy can be harnessed, replenished, and invested intentionally toward whatever we choose. Let’s invest our energy in the actions that make us our Maximal Selves.
The minutes of our lives present themselves one after the other, and the value of those minutes are directly proportional to the quality of the energy we bring to the moment.
The zap we get from excessive caffeine, sugar, and from stress hormones flooding our systems isn’t true energy. We quickly go into an energy debt when we rely on chemicals to mask our symptoms of fatigue and mental exhaustion. That debt will eventually need to be repaid — usually with interest.
We don’t need to create illness or burnout just to give ourselves an excuse to take care of our energy debt.
There is a better way. We don’t need an excuse to take care of ourselves. We need to give ourselves permission to make our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being a priority.
Do these sound good to you?
- A breath of fresh air to clear the mind
- A bit of exercise to release tension and relax the body
- An honest conversation with a trusted friend to settle emotions
- A fun night out to regain perspective
Those are the simple positive inputs we need to free ourselves from the Grind Mind and to energize our lives with positivity.
Every alert signal the body sends us has one goal: to create more energy. Why? Because no matter what challenge, antagonist, or time suck we are facing, energy is the antidote.
Shifting our mindset
So, how do we make sure we are taking the time to read the signals our body is sending us?
Well, first and foremost, we simply give ourselves permission. That’s right. As with many of the steps that lead us toward The Maximal Life, the key to reading and meeting the needs of the body begins with a shift in mindset.
Now we know that time affluence is a perception. We have the power to choose our priorities minute by minute. Maximal Achievers play the long game. We can see further down the road, far past our desks and miles away from our inboxes. We plan on being fully capable of enjoying the benefits of all our dedicated work. The Maximal Life is for the living!
We fully assume responsibility for our own greatness when we grant ourselves permission to be human and dedicate the daily minutes necessary to prioritize self-care.
I almost want to refrain from using the term “self-care.” Self-care is one of those terms that gets saturated by the media and thrown around far too casually.
Self-care isn’t eating whatever you want, doing whatever you feel like, and buying all the things advertisements are trying to sell you.
Let’s instead focus on a new concept: Self-permission. This is a gradual process, so we can’t underestimate the major positive difference that an accumulation of small steps can make.
Maximal Achievers play the long game.
Switch off autopilot
The key element to practicing self-permission begins with accepting that it might feel uncomfortable at first. We become accustomed to running on autopilot, robotically completing task after task without ever checking in with ourselves. A recent study shows that the average American doesn’t pay attention to 47% of what they are doing! That is a lot of precious minutes!
The Grind Mind is fueled by external influences. What are other people thinking? What are other people expecting? What if someone else gets there first? When we begin to practice self-permission to prioritize our health, these counterfeit motivators may get louder and try to seem more urgent.
Don’t fall for it.
Trust the signals your body is sending you, and those robotic urges will soon be replaced by pure energy and laser focus.
Play the long game
Here at YOUMAXA, we’ve developed simple but powerful tools that make integrating health into our workday as efficient, practical and manageable as possible.
Put regular recharging breaks on your calendar and then grant self-permission to honor the break as you would any other important appointment. You can use that time to take a few deep relaxing breaths, a brisk walk, listen to some energizing music, anything that gives your mind and body a new direction and a chance to change the channel. These breaks don’t need to be long — even 10 minutes will make enough of a difference to see Maximal Results.
Keep healthy snacks easily available wherever you find time to grab a bite. For me, that means my office, the break room, and even in my car. We are more likely to make Positive Input choices when we make Positive Input the easiest choice.
When you give yourself permission to meet your most basic needs first, every system in your body harmonizes to support The Maximal You.
Get the highest yield return possible from your greatest investment — yourself. The benefits cannot be overstated.
Commitment to work can be terrific, and the results can be highly rewarding — if we are taking proper care of ourselves.
When we grant ourselves self-permission to prioritize the information the body is sending us, we are playing the long game. For the price of just a few minutes a day, we stand to gain years of living The Maximal Life.