Time to Disconnect

I’m in a busy phase of my life right now, both professionally and personally. The result is I’m feeling unbalanced. Fortunately, I attended the Virginia Press Women spring conference this past weekend and attended a workshop by Christina Kunkle, a resilience coach – just what I needed.

Almost immediately, she talked about our need to disconnect. “There is too much emphasis on technology,” she said and went on to emphasize the need for a morning routine or practice.

Christina Kunkle

Christina Kunkle encourages indivduals to be the CEO of Y.O.U. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Ironically, I’d had a great routine for years – until I started using my smartphone as an alarm clock. With the smart phone, before I went to sleep I would check for last minute messages or play a quick game of Sudoku. First thing in the morning, after turning off the alarm, I would check my messages.

Chrstina’s words hit home. And, I’m not alone. Ben Silbermann, cofounder of Pinterest says in the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens that he went low-tech and bought an alarm clock to break the habit of checking email righter before bed and first thing in the morning.

In the few days since the workshop, I continue to use my smartphone as an alarm clock but now I don’t look at the emails. I have returned to my morning ritual of journaling and making a list for me, which is another thing Christina emphasizes. “You need to be the CEO of Y.O.U.!”

With my list I note if it’s a workout day (seeing it in writing helps get me to the gym at day’s end), jot down evening commitments and identify one or two chores that might need to get done.

“We should start our day with ourselves at the top of the day,” Christina said.

By disconnecting, I actually feel more connected, or at least – grounded.

Coaching Yourself to Career Success

If you want to achieve your ultimate dream, you’re most likely going to have to take something off your plate.

That is the advice of John Fulwider, a consultant, coach and connector, who spoke at the 2011 NFPW conference.

Coaching workook

To make a dream a reality, you need to make a "Not to Do List."

Using a workbook he had developed, he jogged participants through the steps to begin the fulfillment of their dreams. Participants had to write down their goals and make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound), and they had to address the scoffers.

“Those are the people, who say – wrongly, of course, that you can’t possibly pull it off,” John told the group.

He challenged participants to identify their dream – what they are passionate about. For many in the room, it was a time to ponder and at least begin to identify the steps necessary to make the dream a reality. Often, that means identifying what one must give up to make it happen.

I’m working on a mystery manuscript. I put it on hold while I transitioned into a new job and served as president of NFPW. Now, I’m ready to pursue this dream. I’m not taking on new commitments, and I’ve identified time to write. I’m going to stop spending hours on the weekend lost in HGTV, but will instead write.

As part of the exercise, we also identified a personal board of advisors – those individuals who can help make the dream a reality. I’ll be reaching out to these people in the coming months. These advisors will help with editing, finding an agent and publicity. Most importantly, they’ll be there to help me over the hurdles and cheer me on.

Dreams don’t just happen, but John gave the participants a list of specific, measurable and achievable objectives to start work on immediately.  Now that I have my plan, it’s time for me to finish the manuscript and turn this dream into reality.

What will you stop doing to make your dream a reality?