Last week I was driving home from work and I noticed my speedometer read 120 mph! I wasn’t actually driving at this speed, rather my speedometer seemed to get stuck at this mark. When I got home I Googled “stuck speedometer” and received some suggestions of how to fix the problem. I tried a few but nothing seemed to work. Over the course of the next week a strange thing happened. Gradually, slowly, over a 6-day period my speedometer returned to zero!
After puzzling over this for days, I began to make the connection that I also seemed to be going 120 with my work and my life. I had multiple events to facilitate, dozens of coaching clients to meet with, and personal errands to run. I realized I seemed to be stuck at this high speed! My gauge was my stress level and corresponding insomnia and agitation.
This reminded me how important it is to “check our gauges” regularly. I wondered how long I had been going at this speed without even realizing it. Prolonged stress and high speed has serious consequences on the mind and body. Not only is it not healthy for us, it does not allow for the healthy creation of connected relationships. Like when you get on an airplane and the flight attendant directs you to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others, we need to realize we can’t truly connect with others unless we have taken care of ourselves first.
So how do we know when we are at 120 mph? What “gauges” should we routinely check to make sure we are going the speed limit? Here are a few that I plan to monitor more regularly:
- ·Health gauge (physical, mental, and spiritual)
- Am I sleeping well, eating right and getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day?
- Am I able be to kind and forgiving to myself and others, while maintaining an overall optimistic outlook?
- Am I engaging in mindfulness or spiritual practices that renew my soul?
- Relationship gauge – Am I truly present for others and able to listen fully without judgement or interruption; am I able to provide support and help when appropriate?
- Perspective gauge – Am I focused on what is most important, avoiding things that don’t really matter?
- Commitment gauge – Am I setting appropriate boundaries in my work and life? Am I committing only to the things that support my values?
What are your gauges and are you monitoring them regularly?