In my social media posts this March, I am thinking about the theme of “What Goes Around Comes Around”, and it is not really about karma. It is more about this: “Life will let you get away with something for a while, but sooner or later, you will pay the price. Everything you do in life causes the effects that you experience. When you get the bill, be prepared to pay.” Iyanla Vanzant.
This is as true of the things we do as it is of the things we neglect. There are too many things we take for granted:
- When we’re young we take for granted that our bodies are strong and will always be so;
- We get so comfortable in a relationship with a partner or spouse that we neglect to give it specific attention;
- We take it for granted that our team members will pick up the slack when team members or the team’s leader are laid low by a virus or an accident, or go on leave;
- We neglect to stay sharp in our field of expertise because, after all, we are the experts;
- We eat junk and drink too much despite the fact that we don’t feel too sharp in the mornings;
- We turn the radio up to drown the sound of that strange whine in the engine;
- We allow ourselves to slip (back) into bad work habits, not planning the day or the week, reacting as things happen, taking unscheduled interruptions and hopping between multiple tasks when we know that this just doesn’t work.
Your body will let you down when you most need to be strong. When a serious operation or illness is going to demand great strength from you in order to recover, it is too late.
How many of you have had the experience of coasting along doing what you do best, only to realise one day that what you do best is no longer what your clients actually want or need? Or that the world works differently and needs you to work differently too? I think we all had that experience last year. I had to learn to do a lot of things differently in an online world when I had previously been able to rely on my in-person presence, charm and flair for flying by the seat of my pants!
Too much junk food and booze will affect your mental sharpness! It will also exact a physical toll that you will pay sooner or later.
Slipping into bad work habits has all sorts of consequences:
- You feel as if you never have enough time;
- Your work days are unsatisfying;
- You neglect some team members in favour of others, or neglect them all equally;
- You always have multiple uncompleted tasks on your desks;
- You feel stressed, lose your temper and eat badly;
- You neglect yourself and your personal relationships.
Sooner or later people who feel neglected (and perhaps even abused) will turn away – and they may do so when you need them most.
Team members who are taken for granted, who don’t get a thank you when they have dug you out of a hole AGAIN, will go somewhere else, or just disengage and show up in body but not in soul.
It was Stephen Covey who taught me that relationships are like a bank account – you need to make regular deposits because one day you will need to make a withdrawal. When you do make a withdrawal, will you go into overdraft or will the relationship be able to afford it?
I encourage you to think about what you may have been neglecting:
- Who has not had the time and attention they need and deserve?
- What bad habits have you allowed to develop?
- How have you neglected your physical health?
- How have you neglected your mental health?
- What areas of learning do you keep meaning to get to sometime?
- How have you neglected your network?
If you end up with the proverbial shopping list, then that is a wakeup call in itself. However, I don’t recommend that you try and pick off your shopping list all in one go. Rather review your list and decide which are your priorities because their neglect has had (or will soon have) a negative impact on your values and your quality of life. Then make some specific decisions about what you will do.
- When will you get back to the gym?
- When and how will you relax and unwind for an hour or so?
- How will you get time with those key people into your schedule?
- How will you show your appreciation for the people who are always there to back you in life and in work?
- When will you spend time reading every day?
Of course, all of these require that you exercise some discipline in your work habits and routines – or how on earth will you fit them in? This is an opportunity to get off the treadmill of life and work, take stock and remind yourself of what needs to be nurtured and cared for in your long-term interests.
Oh! And get the car serviced!