Guest blog by Gagan Singh
When it comes it having a portfolio career, I could talk to you about marketing, confidence on camera and public speaking. But without a healthy foundation, my words would mean nothing.
Have you ever tried to find balance in your life? If so, you’ll know that it’s difficult because the moment you focus your attention on one task, the others get left behind. So what do you do?
Many people will cut back on sleep, drink more caffeine or simply procrastinate. But there are a few things you should know before you fall out of balance. This post will tell you what you need to know to make sure you select a balanced approach that will let you successfully prioritise what is most important to you.If you're looking for balance, the best method is to ensure that you end up with something that resembles a good life, is to start by looking for these things:
Ensure your body gets enough sleep so you can perform at your best. Human beings are the only mammal that voluntarily sabotage our sleep hours. Ensure you get 7-8 hours of sleep and if possible, use a sleeping ring or a smart watch for a few weeks to track how much deep sleep you’re getting.
Since leaving school, I’ve always pushed myself by taking on new habits in the morning and squeezing in every ounce of work during my waking hours. After all, this is what the motivational gurus tell us to do, to push ourselves to the limit, to work hard and never give up. This however is a recipe for failure; sure you’ll be able to get a lot of R.O.I on your working hours but the long term impact could be a serious illness. According to sleep expert Matthew Walker, Usain Bolt slept for over 12 hours to rest and recover. If the world's most famous athlete can get away with sleeping so much and still keeping on top of his schedules, you and I really have no excuse.
Make sure your mind isn’t lost in too many hypothetical scenarios. Worrying about the past or being anxious about the future doesn’t help solve anything. If you can control the outcome, jump in and take action. If you can’t control the outcome, just let it go. An antelope doesn’t get in front of a cheetah and start worrying about what ifs- it just runs. Get some headspace and clear your mind from any baggage from the past, worries in the present or anxieties about the future. Worrying is a waste of time and only leads to you being unhappy twice. Try mindfulness using an app like ‘Headspace’ or following free professional yoga training from ‘Yoga with Adriene’ on YouTube.
Finally, your phone is not designed to make you more productive. Endlessly scrolling through social media does not get the work done. We cannot consume and create at the same time. Control your attention by minimising your screen time. Use Screentime on Apple devices or AntiSocial on Android devices. They ensure that your phone goes into a standby mode hours before you sleep, letting you sleep well.
Striking the balance is not an overnight task but by focussing on sleeping, thinking and minimising, you can mindfully live a healthier life and keep your batteries charged ready to support your clients, friends and family. Having worked on these three things in my life over the last few years, I’ve noticed the confidence and clarity that have become the backbone of everything that I do in my personal and professional life.
Happy mindful living,
Gagan Singh is the author of ‘Smart Public Speaker: Present with Confidence, Own the Stage and Resonate’. He is a public speaking coach and a current Area Director and Ex-President at Toastmasters International, responsible for four public speaking clubs. Over 2,500 students have enrolled in his online courses and he also holds a full time position as a Head of Marketing.
Guest blog by Angela G Horne
Recently I had coffee with a friend, I’ll call her Jane. She had just turned thirty. When she was born, I was twenty-seven years old. I couldn’t help admiring her for her intuitive abilities and her passion for a very difficult profession: she is a highly trained actor and works for an understanding media/branding company. I mentioned that at her age I was too concerned with how my career path would look to prospective bosses and peers. I didn’t really follow my heart. I didn’t know how. I needed the reassurance of knowing my moves ten steps ahead.
Maybe I am being too hard on myself here (not a first). I did make career changes when I became disenchanted with a sector or organisation’s aims; when it became all about the money and power – when it became about what we could take rather than what we could give; who we could use instead of who we could serve for a purpose greater than ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, money and power are important. If money doesn’t flow properly through your business, it will die. If you do not have the power to persuade the right people at the right time to do the right thing, your business will die. If your business is all about you, your money, your power then, Sweetheart, your business deserves to die.
Today, I am working on my novel-memoir. The most challenging thing I have ever done. The main character came to me in a dream exactly sixteen years ago after a visit to Kew Gardens on the outskirts of London. Clara’s story has haunted me ever since. She won’t leave me alone. But, I love her. Without being dramatic, if I don’t get this book out of me soon, I will die. I’ve been pregnant with this book for far too long. My focus this summer is editing and rewriting the entire book. I’m even setting up a website soon to share the process with weekly updates for public accountability. (No. People are busy. No-one will care. Right?)
Last week I attended a talk by the author, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, about her spell-binding debut novel, Swan Song, published recently. Kelleigh wrote screenplays for fifteen years. She is a seasoned professional but it took her fourteen years to write Swan Song. And, she confessed that ninety percent of the time she did not know what she was doing. Hearing this fabulous lady speak, liberated me.
I had tried and failed to write like a banker; you have to know exactly what you are doing because millions of dollars are at stake. And, it’s not your money. Mistakes may cost you your job and your career. Writing a book meant I had to be completely rewired for creativity: screwing up daily is business as usual until one day the final word is written and then, and only then, does the book make sense. (I know, bloody nightmare.)
For the first time in my life, I have the courage to fail in public. If no-one reads my book when it’s published, that will be fine. My duty is to finish and publish the book the best way I can. However, if just one person reads the book and finds the courage to live from the heart, then the sixteen years of heartbreak to write this book would have been worth it. Hell, yes.