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Why is it so hard to put things in perspective until some major event shakes our lives? Why is it easy to be distracted by the “trees,” when we know we should be considering the “forest?” Why do we get so annoyed by small inconveniences?

I wish I had easy answers!

The best thing we can all do is simply pay attention.

Listen to your thoughts and emotions. Constantly ask yourself whether or not it’s productive to dwell on something or get upset. In short: put things in perspective.

In my own life, I have often caught myself focusing on things that simply don’t matter—a friend’s no-show at a gathering, someone’s difference of opinion, someone who under or over-dressed at a work event.

It’s human nature to get distracted by these small things. But, if we really let ourselves get bogged down by them, we miss out on the things that actually matter.

Think about it:

what matters in your life? Your family? Your career? Your health? Take time TODAY to appreciate and think about the things that matter. You never know when tragedy may strike and your situation may change.

In your personal life…

  • Practice being more forgiving
  • Be present
  • Share time and laughter with those you love
  • Tell others how you feel
  • Show gratitude

In your career…

  • Always give it your all and perform to the best of your ability
  • Have direct conversations with others
  • Have a big-picture plan
  • Set and focus on large goals
  • Delegate (if you can) items that are not in your sweet spot
  • Don’t avoid problems—face them head-on

There are many ways to pull yourself out of the weeds and start considering the bigger picture. No matter your approach, it’s important you at least try. When you find yourself distracted by the small things, remove yourself from the situation, take a step back, and reconsider. End pettiness TODAY.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Holding on to anger

Fist image (without text) courtesy of Teerapun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every day we are given opportunities to forgive. Whether we’re faced with a driver that cuts us off on the freeway, a rude comment from a coworker, or our own lack of preparation for a work presentation, it is often best to let go and learn from our experiences.

It’s tempting to hold onto anger and sadness as protection—to make sure we never feel a certain way again, or to hold as collateral for an apology. But like the analogy of holding a hot coal with the intention of throwing it, we only hurt ourselves when holding onto these negative feelings.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. Practicing forgiveness does not mean you’re a pushover, and it doesn’t mean you accept negative behavior in others. There is a difference between forgiving someone, and opening yourself up to the same hurt in the future.

We can all hope that offenders realize their mistake and feel remorse, but this isn’t always the case. Some people may never apologize, and we’re left harboring ill-will. Forgiveness is for your well being.

Imagine this scenario:

You’re at the office. It’s a busy time of year, and your schedule is packed, but you decide to cut your lunch break short so you can meet with a new client for the first time. You finish your lunch and do some busywork while waiting for her to arrive. Forty-five minutes pass, and you finally see her pull into the parking lot. Right now your breathing is shallow, your fists are clenched and sweaty, your posture is hunched, and you’re angry—angry at her for not respecting your time, angry at yourself for scheduling too much in one day, and suddenly angry at your co-workers for not taking more meetings so you wouldn’t have to. This client may or may not apologize upon entering the room, but you can still practice forgiveness in order to take away a lesson from this experience, while releasing tension and stress.

Forgiveness requires intention and practice, but by lowering stress you are also lowering your chances of a high heart rate, high blood pressure, body aches, depression, and fatigue.

And don’t forget: mistakes are what make us human. Mistakes help us improve: our products, our processes, and our attitudes. Without forgiveness we would still be holding onto hurts from long ago—forgiveness helps us grow.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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