The plan.  Didn’t. Work.  Your stress level spirals out of control.  You can’t see the forest or the trees.  Just red.  Hang on a second.  Maybe the goal shouldn’t be to reassemble the original plan.  Maybe it’s time for a better one.  First off, reduce stress by realizing the only thing you can control are your own actions and reactions.  Reduce stress and re-evaluate.  And don’t forget to breathe.

There is an order to everything, and all team members have to be on-board to experience success.  Yes, but…  It’s an easy thing to say, but more difficult to do.  We all have a vision of the right way to do something.  Case in point?  My son and friends decided to wing it with the assembly of a small sailboat.  Confident they could adjust the sail to cover any missteps, they continued assembling. They did well until it came time to raise the mast and attach supports.

It didn’t work.reducestress|ridingthedime

No amount of stretching, begging, sweating and adjusting made any difference. They needed to go back and fix the problem. Thankfully, the three friends were keen to get out on the water, and knew it was time to change their approach.  But they had to do it wrong first.  Sometimes a face-plant is part of the learning curve

Detour ahead.

That isn’t always so easy in everyday life. We tend to drive in our own lane, following the map we’ve constructed in our heads. It’s difficult sometimes to detour, and we get caught up in there inconvenience and it’s hard to see the benefit.  Think about how we calculate on something as simple as a traffic detour.  We peer at the GPS, trying to determine if it’s worth our time to follow the detour signs.  Like everyone else, I’ve tried to game the system and ended up sitting in front of a sign, unable to go any further.  And so we backtrack.

As entrepreneurs, the line between business and personal is often blurred, but detours impact both.  Staying on track with the plan means we sometimes miss out on opportunities that don’t display immediate value. Often the idea that we’re wasting valuable time blinds us to the possibilities of…well, you name it.

If you have children or pets, you’ll find they force you to slow down a bit. Little legs don’t move as quickly. Teenagers don’t get ready as fast as we’d like. Dogs want to sniff the air, savoring the scent of everything.

Each of these delays present an opportunity. Slower walks with children allow for conversation, and we remember the joy of discovery. Sure, it takes a little longer, but if we embrace the detour, we breathe a little easier. The tightness in the chest eases when we consciously decide to enjoy the time.

Jump-start creativity.

Neighborhood walks with the dog bring multiple benefits. Not only is Fido happier, your heart and cardiovascular system appreciate the effort. So do neighbors you greet. The time spent outside reinforces the connections with both the earth and our community. View it as a treat, not as a necessary chore.

Again, spending time with the dog decreases stress levels and can provide amazing “thinking sessions” at the same time. Obviously this isn’t news, according to an article in The New Yorker, great thinkers such as Charles Darwin and Aristotle used the walking-thinking connection on a regular basis. “Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them,” says article author Ferris Jabr.

If something in life isn’t working for you, it may be time to adjust your thinking and your plan.

Many of us believe we should do “all the things” and do them well. That brings to mind a memory of a school administrator who reminded me that “no one is gifted in everything.” Bottom line? Embrace your talents. Challenge yourself to stretch, grow and learn new things. And ask for help when you need it. We aren’t gifted in everything, and that isn’t a character flaw. Click To TweetYour “team” of friends, family and co-workers each bring unique talents to your life, and vice versa.

As I’ve said before, life is so much sweeter when we connect.reducestressridingthedime

The give and take, the sharing of our talents, makes our community stronger. Just ask three boys that backtracked to the problem, used their respective skills to make changes and moved forward.

It was smooth sailing all the way.









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