Holidays didn’t go the way I had planned!


Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I would find myself in the Emergency Room late at night the day after Christmas!  I had been experiencing sharp pains in my upper abdomen, right side, for four days but I brushed it off to the effect of a busy schedule, holiday foods, lots of lifting my precious grandchildren: I was sure it would go away “real soon”.   After four days the pain was really getting my attention!

After some discussion with my husband, he felt we ought to at least get it checked out so we headed for the Emergency Room.  The night didn’t unfold the way I had planned but rather it began a 2 night hospital stay with surgery to remover my gallbladder!  Seriously, not in my holiday plans!  I still had company at my house!!

After the surgery was complete and I enjoyed sweet visits, calls and responses from caring friends and family members, it was when I sent my husband home for the night that I lay there in the stillness of the hospital room surrounded with strange lights, beeps, and an occasional nurse coming in to check my blood pressure.   In the silence of that room I had an important opportunity to assess my life, to throw a wide gaze over my life and decide whether or not I am living the way I know is best in all my Life Accounts.

It’s interesting how vulnerable one can feel in a medical institution.  Being a patient is such a stark reality of how fast life (or health) can be taken.  In the Emergency Room when we arrived there had been numerous accidents on the icy streets of Bend.  A number of folks had passed away, numerous others were badly injured.  I couldn’t help but to be faced with the preciousness of “life”.

In the quite of my room I pondered the use of my time, my finances, my talents, and my energy.  I was forced to consider that if my situation had been more serious would I have had any regrets?  What would I change in the coming year?  How would I take better care of myself?  The opportunity to ponder my answers and make fresh committments was actually a gift to me.   Though I am not grateful for my gallbladder attack, I am grateful to have been given a little “wake up call”.

As a Life Coach I do try to live by the same values that I encourage my leaders to abide by: focus on health, priorities, relationships, self-care/growth, spiritual life, and being engaged in “cup-filling” activities.  However, it’s easy to say “well, this is just a busy season! I’ll get back to my good disciplines soon!”   And then one season runs into another and our busy, over-extended life becomes a life-style.  Right? We’ve all been there!

Having surgery was not even in my wheel-house of possibilities when I looked toward the coming holiday season; a total surprise!  With the help of amazing nurses (especially those precious gals who work the night shift) and caring and supportive family; I am on the mend.

As I assessed my life there were many areas that, frankly, I would not have changed; it felt good to lay there knowing that my family, friends, and colleagues do know that I care for them; they are a priority in my life and calendar.  Physically I need to be more mindful of myself and thus, I am putting key appointments on my calendar even now.  I always want to grow more in my relationship with God; as I lay there in the quiet I pondered all I still wanted to know and understand about God; I will dig deeper this year.

My opportunity to “take some time to ponder my life” was a little bit dramatic, but you have the chance to do the same as you enter this new year that is full of promise and possibilities!  Where are you in your key life accounts?  What’s lacking? What’s working?  Where do you want to be a year from now??  Take time to ponder these things by choice and not by a surprise crisis, as I experienced!

Wishing you a fruitful, impacting, balanced, healthy year ahead!

Happy New Year!



Is your “Culture” killing you?


I spent time, recently, with a multi-talented friend working in a key role for a large start-up company in the silicon valley; her job offered lots of opportunity and monetary gain.

“What a GREAT opportunity!” she had been told over and over again.

Behind the scenes she was working 11 hours days while commuting for 2 more. The culture of the company praised those that were available 24/7, those who worked weekends were rewarded with a strong pat on the back, those who gave all they had for the company were the ones who gained greater influence~So the entire culture serves the company without  any guard rails.

Here’s the reality~ my friend worked very hard and used her time efficiently and intentionally.  She would continue to answer email and texts long into the evening; she was never off work. No matter how well she used her time the work was simply never done!

Parkinsons law reads like this, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.  If we continue to make time “available” the time will continually fill up!

Through her exhausted tears she honestly expressed that she had lost sight of her own priorities for the sake of her work culture.  She barely saw her daughter and husband, never took time for exercise, ate on the run, and had no energy filling activities at all! She didn’t look like the vibrant lady I have known for so long; she looked tired.

Doesn’t seem like a good trade off to me.

It was amazing to see her resolve as we discussed creating a plan for her personal/work life where she intentionally communicated that she would be leaving working at 5:30, she would stay off her phone in the evening, and she would incorporate exercise into her morning routine. She clearly recognized that the company culture would kill her if she didn’t set the guard rails needed to survive.

What about your work culture?  Have you lost sight of your personal values to embrace the values of the company?  Have you become consumed with being available 24/7?  If so, has there been a cost? Honestly access your situation and ask yourself this question:

Is it time for you to set some guard rails for yourself?

In an article written by Angel Chernoff she says that after conducting a study she found these to be the biggest regrets people expressed when nearing death:

  • “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  • “I wish I didn’t work so hard my whole life.”
  • “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Thoughts worth considering. 🙂