The pace of life continues to pick up speed. In addition to dealing with the demands of starting and leading your own business, you still have all those other things that life throws at you: from your personal relationships and families to aging parents and managing finances. No doubt as entrepreneurs you are already in the elite league of multi-taskers. Still, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that gets tossed your way… to the point where life begins to feel like some kind of manic log rolling competition. I know this from my own experience as an Operating Room nurse, mother, stand-up comic, and now as a full time professional speaker and presenter. As professional women who juggle many roles we know that no two days are ever the same.
So the question becomes that of how we set ourselves up for success to better deal with all the forces out there just waiting to knock us out of balance and into choppy waters.
Here are 4 Key ingredients to make you stand out among the competition.
The 1st ingredient is constant self-improvement. As members of NLOWE you have already taken an important step down this road. Feeling yourself progress not only makes you better at what you do, it instills a sense of purpose and momentum in your daily life. I still remember my first stand-up gig. It was amateur night and I had my “5 Minutes” prepared but as soon as I took the stage every drop of moisture evaporated from my mouth. I stuttered and choked along as every punch line I delivered was met by deafening silence. Staring out into the limelight, the air was so still I could count the dust particles in the room. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life…but I hung in there, determined not to give up. And then it happened. Just before the MC was going to issue the hook, one of my jokes actually got a laugh. It is a moment seared into my mind. During those 5 minutes of terror I got a little bit better because I took that risk. That ever so brief moment of success provided the AHA moment that inspired me to build a career out of making people laugh. I hung in there when the going got tough and it forced me to reach beyond my comfort zone.
The 2nd ingredient is Effective Communication. Strong relationships are built on open, honest and clear communication. As business owners and leaders, the ability to influence people is your lifeline to success. As a motivational humourist I have had to work hard to ensure that my message resonates with the people I have the privilege of presenting to. I can only succeed by being authentic and delivering a message that I believe to be true. I really do have to walk the talk. What is true on stage is equally true in all facets of our lives. Relationships are built and maintained one conversation at a time.
The 3rd ingredient is to Strike Balance in your life. Someone said to me the other day only half joking ‘Gee Meg, as I see it, adding life balance to my ‘To Do’ list will just stress me out even more.’ I will admit that it is easy to get distracted by all of the urgent things that crop up during any given day. The problem is that the urgent things often distract us from those things that may be most important. I believe it is vital to our personal well-being to push the pause button on the seemingly urgent things and set aside time each day to do something for ourselves. This private time can take any form: spending time with family, going for a walk, reading, writing or meditation. This time lets us recharge emotionally and physically and helps us perform better when we do get back to all the urgent things that will be waiting NO MATTER WHAT!
Ingredient #4 is Humour. After the better part of three decades as a Registered Nurse and Professional Speaker I have learned firsthand how sprinkling humour in with the other 3 ingredients helps us maintain our perspective – especially when life is daring us to complain. I say this because along the path of life people will pass our way who inspire us, bring a smile to our face and remind us to find the humour even during life’s tougher moments. One person who crossed my path in this way was Clara who, at the age of 101, was in for elective surgery. She had her wits about her…a radiant smile and a glint in her eye despite all the challenges she faced. I was honoured to have the time to hear her tell me some of her amazing story. When I asked her ‘What is the secret to your spirit?” she replied “Don’t be a complainer. And don’t take yourself too seriously, no matter what. Nobody’s getting out of this life alive…so enjoy each moment.” I think of it as Clara’s Rule.
Clara made a lasting impression on me. So on those days when you are feeling overwhelmed, with too much on your plate, when ducking under the covers seems like the best option, just take a moment to think of the people in your life who have inspired you along the way. Be true to yourself with what you can accomplish. Step up, puff out your chest, lift up your chin, smile and say ‘bring it on!’
Meg Soper is a Humour, Motivational & Work Life Balance Speaker. Come out for laughter, inspiration, stories and strategies about the Four Key Ingredients as Meg addresses at the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs 2013 Annual Conference on Thursday, April 18. You can also check Meg out on her own blog and her website.