Energize Your Life

Being outside, walking, biking, hiking, reading, allows me to open my mind. It must be the expanse of the sky, the space I feel around me, the freedom it all brings to my mind. I feel like I can breathe and relax. The end result is a feeling of peace and calmness. Since I don’t spend my entire day outside (nor would I want to), I need to find other ways to bring peace into my life.


While researching some information for a training at work, I read one of the Fish! Philosophy books we had on a bookshelf. I vaguely knew the story, I’d seen the video clips, but I hadn’t read the book. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, it is about the practices of the famous Seattle fish market Pike Place Fish which bring energy and engagement to the workplace.

As I read the book (a 20 minute quick read), I realized the the four principles can be used to improve your personal life as well. Part of my goal to have a simple life means less stress in all areas of my life, while also learning to enjoy life. The four practices really resonated with me:
  • Be There
  • Play
  • Make Their Day
  • Choose Your Attitude
As you read these four practices, what did you think of? Did you think Yes! I need to do this! Did you think Wow, I’m awful at that! Did one stick out to you?

As I read through this list, all four called out to me. They caused me to stop and think, and open my mind to being an active part of my day.When I am at work, somehow I do a much better job at providing “customer service” to my coworkers and clients. When I’m at home, I seem to want to shut down and focus on me. Which means I don’t feel like being present, playing is not in my nature, sometimes I want someone else to make my day, and my attitude varies widely.

Why is this? What causes us to act so differently at home than we do at work? Is it because we know we could be fired or written up at work? Whereas at home no one is going to fire us? (And believe me, I keep trying to get fired as the chief cook and bottle washer!)

In reality, we could get fired through divorce, we could get written up in that our children act out at us. Conversely, if we tried to act at home, the way we act at work, many positive things could result. In the past, when I have tried to follow some of these practices, I’ll get the comment from someone at home along the lines of “wow, you are in a good mood today.” This shows me I am acting differently at home than at work.


There are definite benefits to employing these practices into our personal life, and while I don’t expect I’ll practice them all the time, I might just post them on the fridge to remind me to practice them more often.

Be There

Have you ever been trying to finish a task only to have everyone else keep interrupting you? Or to have your kids start a fight right in the middle of whatever it is you are doing? One thing I notice is that if I give people only half my attention, it takes me longer to get something done, they keep asking me questions, and no one is happy. 

Instead, if I stop what I am doing, give them my full attention, and really be present in the conversation, their needs are met, they are happy, and all of a sudden, I have this uninterrupted time to finish my task. The key is to be present. Give people attention. Put down the phone, turn down the burner under the food if necessary, and be present. You really won’t delay things, instead you will find more time. 

Play

This is really hard for me. I am not a playful person by nature. I am serious, task-oriented and conservative. But think of a broader definition of the word Play. Play can mean, lightheartedness, setting aside tasks to do something enjoyable, like a bike ride, camp fire outside, or even a bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce. It just means being open to doing something enjoyable that brings about good feelings. 

See if you can come home from work and set aside all the chores and things on your To Do list. Instead, go with the flow. Laugh at a joke; say Yes when someone asks you to do something. Be an active part of the people around you.


Make Their Day

I have written about this before. Be the reason someone smiles today. Express gratitude. Surprise someone with a compliment. Heck, even letting someone else make the decision without debate. Try to do something to make their day. Thinking of someone else first, will actually make you feel good in return. Have you ever heard the saying “Kill them with kindness?” That applies here as well. 

While I would love to come home to a full meal cooked and on the table, with a back and foot massage for dessert, that is unreasonable. It is the small things we do each day, that make up a general feeling of happiness in our lives. A few small things done for others, makes them happy, which makes relationships stronger and energized. 

Choose Your Attitude

You can not control others. You can, however, control yourself. What attitude do you choose to have today? Mad? Upset? Annoyed? Cheated? Or, do you choose to let things go, respond without sarcasm or ulterior motive. If someone says something to me that I don’t like, how I respond makes all the difference. Your responses can start a fight, end an argument, make someone’s day, continue a fight. The choice is really up to you as to how you respond. 

So often, we feel we have to be right. Or we always want that last word. When we let the other person state their mind and just let it be, often the results are much better than if we would immediately respond. Emotions run high, and they often cloud our reasoning and judgement. Time is often needed before we can respond with the correct attitude.

This post only briefly touches on each of these strategies. Do any of them resonate with you? Which one could be a quick win for you?

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