It's Now or Never
by Ric Giardina
Living is a thing you do now or never -- which do you?
-- PIEI HEIN
It is probable that this book (Become A Life Balance Master) actually is the set of directions you have been looking for that will allow you to design the life you want to live; indeed, it is intended to be that. It is also possible that this program may not be ideal for you, although I am a firm believer in kismet -- if you have this book in your hands, it's there for a reason.
But be forewarned: If you intend to get any value from this book, it is not to be taken lightly -- nor is it for the fainthearted. What you do with this book and, hence, whether it helps you to change your life for the better or whether it does nothing at all is entirely up to you.
In any event, before you start on this journey, you need to know the following: To get any benefit from this book will require you to embrace and to commit and continuously recommit to exhibiting a combination of certain personal characteristics. These characteristics include attention, intention, intuition, creativity, articulation, action, discipline, integrity, and patience.
Attention, because if you have any hope of making changes to the way you are living your life -- some people like to say "doing life" -- then you will have to start taking a close look at what you are actually doing at the present time. This will require a new level of mindfulness about your thought processes, your choices and decisions, and your actions and activities. Frankly, maintaining that level of awareness can seem forced in the best of circumstances and is likely to make you uncomfortable at times.
Intention, because at every stage of this journey it will be necessary for you to be clear about the direction into which you want to move next. If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when or if you have gotten there? Intention is like keeping your eye on the ball. It is also like a welcome fire in your soul that you can stoke from time to time to get you over the rough spots.
Intuition, because there will be times when things will look like they are moving in the right direction, but something inside you may be trying to tell you that something is off. You will need to learn to listen to those little messages -- those suggestions, inklings, pictures, and nudges from your subconscious. Frequently, your subconscious mind knows more about what is going on in your "real" world than your conscious mind does. If you fail to heed your intuition, you will end up traveling down too many dark alleys and dead ends in your quest to make your life one of balance.
Creativity, because this journey will require you to look at your life in different ways and to come up with alternative solutions to the issues and problems you have been attempting to solve by making the same choices over and over and expecting different results. Those choices haven't worked to give you what you truly want in the past, and they will not work to provide you with your heart's desire for the future. The path to your balanced future begins with you reaching deep into your creative self for new approaches and ways of being that will surprise you in terms of their depth, their appropriateness, and the results that they bring.
Articulation, because as you begin to change the world around you beginning with your views of your self, your life activities, and your responsibilities, it will become necessary for you to explain to those who are in your circle of family, friends, and business associates -- and most of all those who rely on you -- that you are undertaking to change the way you are living your life. You need to do this for two reasons: First, because it is unfair to surprise people with unexpected behaviors. If you have been living life a particular way and then suddenly change your behavior without giving notice of your intentions to the people in your life, they may respond badly. Second, because you will want to garner support for your new way of living, and you can only get that by explaining what you are doing and why.
Action, because planning to do something is not the same thing as doing it. Our dreams become realities only to the extent that we actually start doing something about making then happen. For you to succeed on this journey, you will need to be action-oriented in a very deliberate and mindful way.
Discipline, because taking mindful action one or two times is not enough any more than running a mile or two would prepare you for a marathon. To change what you are doing consistently for the long haul, the new actions that you do only deliberately and mindfully at first will need to become your unconscious default actions -- your new habits. To accomplish this, it will be necessary for you to be disciplined in both constancy and repetition.
Integrity, because you will undermine your entire program if you fudge your self-assessment and your progress and if you are anything other than ruthlessly honest with yourself. For many people, this is the hardest characteristic to embrace. After all, most people get off balance because they either haven't been paying attention to the consequences of their behaviors, choices, and actions or because, even if they do begin to recognize subliminal stirrings that things aren't right, they fool themselves into thinking that everything will work itself out without the need to make any changes. This is yet one more example of our human tendency to do the same thing over and over with the ridiculous expectation that at some point we will get a different result.
Patience, finally, because whatever the state of your life and your Life Balance equation at this point, you have arrived here through the making of choices and the taking of actions over a lengthy period of time -- perhaps your entire life. You will not be able to suddenly shift direction in the blink of an eye and start down a direct course to your heart's desire. As noted above, it will take disciplined repetition of mindful choices as well as actions taken in full awareness of their consequences over a period of time to change what have effectively become your habits. There will be times that you succeed and times that you do not. You will need to practice patience in good measure -- with the process, with other people in your life, and most importantly, with yourself -- as day by day you make different choices, try alternative approaches, monitor your progress, and then reclaim your chosen path when you have discovered you have somehow strayed from it.
This article was excerpted from:
About the Author
RIC GIARDINA is the founder and president of The Spirit Employed Company, a management consulting and training firm that offers keynote addresses and other programs on authenticity, balance, community, and discipline. Ric is the author of Your Authentic Self: Be Yourself at Work and a book of poetry called Threads of Gold.