Have you ever felt like you were just floating through your day? No focus, no passion, and no real progress. Not to forget, irritable as all get out.
That was me not too long ago. As Michael Hyatt would say, I was “drifting” through life. Every day was the same. I would just “do,” with no real focus or direction. I would question my purpose throughout the day, both personally and professionally. I would have moments of binge eating, mainly because I was too stressed and had no energy to prepare meals before my day began.
Simply put, I categorized myself as a hot mess, although there was nothing on fire about me.
What I didn’t realize during this stage of my life was that my personal brand suffered, too. I positioned myself as an authentic, focused, innovative, and positive professional. However, I acted like I was living someone else’s life and career. I was “in my head” 24-7. My creativity and design brain was dormant. You could also call me Mr. Negative at home (all I could see in my wife’s eyes were a Swiffer Sweeper hitting me upside my head).
I was the guy positioned to help build brands, but my own was in shambles. I needed a timeout to revisit my personal brand and re-assess my game plan. So I called one.
During my personal and professional timeout, I read three game-changing books that cost less than $15 each. No weekly “woo sah" sessions. No Life Coach. Just old fashioned books. Yes, the ones you actually turn the page, highlight on, and write in. That trio was:
- Living Forward, by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy
- Start With Why, by Simon Sinek
- It Starts With Food, by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig
For me, it wasn’t just the content in these books that helped me re-connect with myself and set me on the right course. It was more about the process of sitting down, turning off my phone, email, and social media accounts, and engaging in focused reading for 30-60 minutes a day.
Think about it. A basketball coach doesn’t run out to the court in the middle of play to tell his players about a change in plans. Instead, coach calls a timeout, stops play, and sits his players down. He forces them to unplug from the game.
We must frequently take timeouts to self-invest and evaluate our game plans - personally and professionally. If we don't, we risk our personal and professional well-being...and our treasured relationships.
What resulted from my timeout was amazing.
- I gained focus and direction. The exercises in Living Forward forced me to re-define what was important to me. Hyatt and Harkavy labeled these priorities as “Life Accounts.” I learned how much my Life Accounts were in the red and what I needed to do to get them back to black.
- I uncovered my true brand identity. In Start With Why, Simon Sinek challenged me to ask one question about my life and career: “Why?” Why ask why, you wonder? Because I learned that "people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it." I’ve always believed that a unique story can inspire others, change lives, and disrupt the norm. For so long, I failed to identify that my life was about equipping and empowering others to unpack and share theirs.
- I got in the best shape of my life. Following the It Starts With Food principles was re-invigorating to say the least. I dropped 5% body weight and 35% body fat in my first 30 days of eating whole foods! Most importantly, I learned more about what foods work for my body and what don't. I got to say adios to brain fog, mid-afternoon crashes, and half of my closet. Can I get an amen?!
The thought of taking a life and career timeout can be downright daunting. Trust me, I get it. But what’s the alternative? Our world and the people around us depend on us being our best version of ourselves. The only way to give them our best is to make sure we’re tapping into it.
Just call a timeout! The clarity and confidence that results from taking one is worth every minute. If you don’t know where to start, go to Amazon and invest $45 into the three books I did.
What is keeping you from calling your personal and professional timeout?