Stress is a constant theme that surrounds me now, with a daughter in high school and another in college and a business to run, my days are a whirlwind of activities, demands and deadlines.
I’m often called on to council my children and friends on this topic, so I wanted to share my own wisdom on how to breakdown tasks into reasonable pieces and remain calm as the bombs explode and the bullets fly during times of stress and challenge.
After my late husband died, my life was blown into a million pieces, not just for myself, but for my children, our extended family, and my husband’s close friends, employees and colleagues. My husband’s offices were permanently closed after his death as he was the dominant force and impossible to replace, so I was not alone in having my world fall apart that one morning in mid-July.
The pain in the eyes, faces, and voices of the tribe that my husband had developed over the last thirty years was astounding. I’ve never seen so many grown men cry, and hope to never again.
During this time, I began a practice that I continue to this day. Each morning, before I start my day, I pray for guidance and ask for the top three things I need to do that day.
This helps me to breakdown the thousands of tasks into bite size pieces. The morning I got the call my husband had died, I had three things to do that day:
- Get dressed.
- Take the garbage out.
- Tell my daughters their father was dead.
After I did these three things everything else was less difficult; call my in-laws, the coroner, the funeral home, and so on.
The second day, the list was less insurmountable. Go to Santa Maria Church to plan the funeral, comfort my children, call my sorority sisters.
Life is a series of challenges. It is not what happens to us, but how we face the inevitable obstacles inherent in living a rich full life, that will define our future.
Today, my days are full of activities that move me closer to my goals. They are mostly positive, proactive, and enjoyable. This morning, my list looked like this:
- Get the Ocean SF deck and business plan to the people we met with yesterday.
- Meet my friend Denise for lunch.
- Buy my injured daughter nail polish and Kit Kat bars as promised.
Of course, I did a million other things as well, and most of them before noon, but that was the top three that were the priority.
Choosing how and where we spend our time and energy in life is of the upmost importance. Our lives are truly valuable and where we put our focus is precious because our attention is the sunshine that makes the seeds we plant grow.
The three small things I tasked myself with each day, over the last fourteen months, helped me to get through a harrowing year, while simultaneously building an amazing company and brand.
Love and blessings to all.