Wed, 23 April 2014
Recently, my life fell apart. At least that's how it felt emotionally. From the outside, everything looked great. I was an in demand speaker, making lots of money, with a lot of projects in the works, and the field of possibility ahead of me. The truth was another matter. My calendar was overscheduled, my time was overcommitted, I had agreed to too many meetings and too many projects, and my health deteriorated dramatically. Somehow, I had managed to get off track. Way off track.
Then I had an epiphany. It didn't instantly solve all my problems, but it did show me the solution to all my problems, and the path I needed to walk to get back on track. Interestingly, I believe this same solution can work for you when you get off track, and I'll share a simple set of steps you can file away from when you need them. Plus, here are some additional reasons to keep listening…
Tip Of The Week
A friend of mine showed me his Speck iPhone Wallet Case, and I was immediately smitten. For a long time I've been using the Duluth Trading Company's Smallet, which is a near-razor-thin wallet that holds only a few cards. But in my search for evermore minimalistic living, it bothered me that I had to carry both a wallet and my iPhone in my pocket. Now, with the new Speck case, I carry only one item. The challenges it only holds three cards-so right now I'm carrying is my phone, my drivers license, a business debit card, and my personal debit card (because at the Edwards household, we don't do credit cards).
There are a few other cards that I normally carry with me-health insurance card, Costco card, Barnes & Noble membership card, library card, etc. So I came up with the very clever idea of simply taking pictures of those cards with my iPhone and keeping them in a special photo album on the phone itself. I'll keep you posted on how this works out.
There's a very popular song with the refrain “clap your hands if you know happiness is the truth.” It just so happens I do know that. As followers of Jesus, we are supposed to be happy. How do I know this?
Feature Segment: How to Get Back On Track
From the outside, everything looked great. I was an in demand speaker, making lots of money, with a lot of projects in the works, and the field of possibility ahead of me. The truth was another matter. My calendar was overscheduled, my time was overcommitted, I had agreed to too many meetings and too many projects, and my health deteriorated dramatically. Somehow, I had managed to get off track. Way off track.
Then I had an epiphany. It didn't instantly solve all my problems, but it did show me the solution to all my problems, and the path I needed to walk to get back on track. Interestingly, I believe this same solution can work for you when you get off track, and I'll share a simple set of steps you can file away from when you need them.
Here's the epiphany: 99% of all the results I'm experiencing in my life are 100% appropriate. Let me elaborate…
The point I'm trying to make is this: our lives are closed systems. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end. What happens between the beginning and the end is largely up to us. I say that 99% of all of our results are 100% appropriate, in that 1% are things that are actually outside of our control: an unexpected genetic defect causes the disease or deformity, market forces we had no chance of influencing diminish the value of our investments, a tornado demolishes the house we live in, etc. but despite the impression that may be given by the disaster-fascinated media, these events are definitely the minority.
We don't get fat because the “big food industry” is out to get us. We get fat because we chose to have a big Mac and a chocolate shake for dinner last night, instead of a salad and a lean steak.
This epiphany came to me as a result of reading three books, in succession: Living Buddha Living Christ, by Thich Nhat Hanh, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, and Work the System by Sam Carpenter.
Sidebar for my Christian brothers and sisters…
…there were many things in Hanh's book I could simply not agree with, and he clearly does not understand fully what it means to be a follower of Christ. I am very clear that Jesus is the only way to heaven and life with the Father. That being said, I found some valuable and powerful truths contained in Han's the book; but I don't want anyone to be confused about what I believe or what I perceive as the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
I will be publishing a full review of Sam Carpenter's book next week. But the primary distinction I got from that book was that all of life is a system; and each part of our lives is a subsystem, consisting of many other subsystems. Take for example your health: is a system contained within your body. Subsystems include the system of what you eat, the system of how you use and maintain the physical framework of your body, the system of what thoughts you permit to enter and remain in your mind, the system of how much rest and sleep you get, the system of the environment in which you keep your body most of the time, etc
The point of all this is simply that getting back on track is not about considering a broad sweeping wholesale change in your life. It is about adjusting the component subsystems where you got off track. For instance, when it comes to my speaking schedule, the processes of the system that make up my speaking business are roughly something like this:
What had gone awry in the system of my speaking business over the past few months was that I performed step number 4 too many times and without enough discretion. I said “yes” to far too many people. This resulted in my calendar being overscheduled, and also bled over into the other subsystems of my life, affecting my sleep, and ultimately my physical health.
But it gets even more interesting.
Because of the squeeze on my schedule, I had to work overtime during the hours I was home to complete client projects, work on my own products and trainings, get my podcast completed, etc. this disrupted the system that I call “family time”. It also disrupted the system that I call “exercise”, and the system that I call “sleep”. In those three cases, I simply didn't get enough family time, exercise, or sleep. So, in its wisdom, my body did what it sometimes does to force me to pay attention to it: it got sick.
The implication at the beginning of this podcast was that I did in fact get back on track, that I can show you how to do the same. In the spirit of transparency, I am just now emerging from the rubble of this massive system disruption, but things are much much better, and I realize I have been here before. So I feel relatively confident in helping you in your own quest to get back on track. Here are the steps.
7 Steps For Getting Back on Track
When you correct the small variances in the tiniest of subsystems, the next level of systems above becomes smoother and less chaotic, allowing you to move your corrections up one level. Eventually the “big picture” takes care of itself.
What I Personally Have Done
I identified a few primary systems that needed better working procedures to solve some of the problems that were cropping up. So I developed step-by-step procedures for:
I began making adjustments and every one of these systems, and began to instantly see a decrease in chaos and disorder… And more evidence of righteousness peace and joy. I'm definitely back on track. And you can be too.
One final note. Sam Carpenter said something deeply profound in his book that is worth repeating. I don't have to like the steps needed to correct my malfunctioning systems-but I do have to take them if I want to see change.
The result is the reward.
Question: Have you ever had the experience of getting off track, and if so how did you get back on the path? Click here to leave your comments.