I've been sick the past week. Actually, if I take a step or two back further, I went rowing with a local Canoe Club, got incredibly soar, caught a cold and spent the week in a weird state of disgust with myself - arms soar from rowing, head stuffed from congestion, lungs unable to breath, back tweaked from a combination of rowing and coughing, and my mind wondering if I'll ever know true health again.
Owning your own business has both advantages and disadvantages when you're not feeling well. The obvious benefit is that I don't have to go into an office, nor really even get dressed for the day. I can work from bed, or at the very least from my desk in bed attire. The down-side is the work still has to get done – and in the case of my business – it has to get done by me. While productivity can slip a bit, it's hard to explain to clients the company is sick, and thus the show must go on.
As if to make matters worse, a tropical storm meandered its way to Maui this week, and so the past few days have provided nothing but wind and rain. While to some degree this cuts back on the number of individuals passing by my apartment having the best day of their life while I'm coughing up phlegm – it only feeds into the negative energy that the soreness and sickness have already delivered this week, creating a full fledged tropical funk. Wednesday night, while reaching for my phone to see what time of night I'd coughed my way to consciousness within, the precious metal and glass cameo slipped from my hands, and shattered upon the cold floor. I picked up my iPhone, placed it down upon the nightstand, and went back to sleep. The low point had been reached.
I believe that the majority of your life experience is informed by the energy you bring to any particular situation. This isn't specifically the energy one gets from exercise and eating well, although the two are intimately connected. The energy I'm describing is a force that interacts with everything around you, and when flowing properly creates a rhythm and ease to life – but when off or weakened creates gravity and obstacles. The more I've paid attention to this energy over the years, the more I've learned how to work with it, anticipate it, and in situations like the past week, accept that things will not be going my way. A combination of physical, environmental, professional, personal and financial factors might point to causality, but the common theme of the week was a complete lack of energy. My mojo was off.
However, if there is anything that is certain in this world, it's that all things must pass, and if the pendulum is going to swing in one direction, it will most certainly swing in the other. This energy, like all of reality, travels in waves. It has it's high and low – it's on and off – it's black and white. So as I lifted my shattered iPhone off the floor, I didn't throw a fit or scream to the heavens about the unfairness of life – I knew at that moment the wave was about to start bending up. I knew this was the deepest depth of this trough and that I'd now be heading back up. I didn't focus on the negative, only anticipated the positive. You needn't ever feed negative emotions to the energy – the world can handle that on its own. Your attention must always be to the positive and whenever possible to motive yourself to push that energy curve back towards the rising crest. As you begin to genuinely feel this energy, you'll be able to catch it slipping and make certain whatever downward trends occur, they are short-lived and immediately corrected. For while you can't avoid the negative, you can sustain and thus extend the positive.
Knowing this is how my mind works and how I experience life – the past weekend provided an excellent opportunity to prepare for this coming week. Still recovering from the head-cold and with the rains of Tropical Storm Ana pouring down, there were no places to go or beaches to lay upon. So instead, I took the time to feed this positive trending energy by revisiting my current goals, both short-term and long-term, mapping out my ideal week, and then seeking out and engaging in various sources of inspiration in both books and videos.
For the life-goals, I first balanced all my books and reviewed my various financial accounts. While making money should never be the primary focus of one's life, having a clear vision as to how you make your money and where it is going, and more importantly how you intend to grow your wealth (savings and investments) is vital to any success or happiness you might obtain. As I've mentioned before, I spend 1-2 hours on Saturday reviewing finances, balancing my company's books and looking at various other opportunities that might exist. I extended those efforts this weekend not only getting all my financial records up-to-date, but also putting together some initial marketing strategies for the 4th quarter and early 2015. I'm looking to increase engagement with my company's existing customer base, while also improving site traffic to the website in an effort to increase project requests. I'm also hoping to put more attention towards the vacation rental market and boutique hotels in general.
For my personal life, I engaged in an exercise I like to do once or twice a year, where I map out what the ideal week should look like. For me, this entails what every hour of the day will be spent on between 6am when I wake-up and 10pm when I get into bed. I break things down by hour long intervals and try to map out how I think the week should work. This includes work, beach time, cooking dinner, going for a run, and various other tasks that must be achieved throughout the week. It includes what meals I will cook - what evening I will head to the pub (Thursday if you're curious) and even when I'll perform a review of this week's plan on Friday. There is something wonderfully self-inspiring to list out how your week will go. Since I work for myself, I have a lot more control of how I wish to break up the day – and so I'm allowed to create a unique routine that I'm looking forward to experimenting with this week. If I can stick with it - I'll be rather pleased with myself next weekend. By plotting out how an awesome week might look, identifying what it would entail and then challenging yourself to stick with it, you provide a path for that energy to flow, and measurable milestones to acknowledge your progress along the way, all of which grows that energy.
Finally I looked for inspiration in books and videos online. In addition to getting back into a healthy routine, I'm also going to do a little entertainment detox. After returning from my trip away from Maui, I got into a routine of watching various TV shows and online programs after dinner. The sun is going down earlier these days, and I had fell into quite a sedentary evening lifestyle. When you begin to plan out your life into hours, you find you rarely have the urge to add large multi-hour blocks labeled as "stare at television screen" on every single day of the week. You quickly notice the great treasure trove of opportunity that resides in those post-dinner hours from 6-9p. Those three hours a night, seven nights a week provide an entire twenty-one hours of potential each week in which you can learn new things, expand skills and talents, or find inspiration and additional motivation to fire up that energy. I searched for blog posts on inspirational YouTube channels and found several new series to watch ranging from business leaders to philosophers. I did another search for reading lists from folks I admired. From a reading list apparently compiled by Steve Jobs I found a fascinating book on Zen and another about a Yogi. I also downloaded two books on business and "The Element" by Ken Robinson, a book on self-improvement someone recommended to me a month or two ago.
As I begin to feel better and live within the path I've defined for this week, I will fill my mind with these various positive sources of inspiration and motivation to welcome my energy from the dark realm which is has travelled back to the light. And just as the phone slipped from my hand, now wonderful opportunities will present themselves and positive moments will abound. I'm not simply hoping for a good week, I am anticipating it. I know next weekend as I sit down to write a blog post, I will be healthier and more inspired than I am at this moment, and will build upon that momentum to help define an even greater week to follow.
"A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances."
- James Allen, "As A Man Thinketh"