Are Your Misaligned Values Causing More Stress? 3 Ways To Find Alignment Without Adding To Your To-Do List

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By Sue Hawkes 

Do you ever feel like things aren’t right but you can’t put your finger on it? Often, we play it off as stress or a lack of work-life balance but without looking deeper, you really aren’t fixing the problem. According to a report by the Conference Board, a New York-based nonprofit research group, 53.7% of women are unsatisfied — that’s over half of all working women! Instead of adding or trying to create another productivity habit to fix your unsatisfied feelings, you need to slow down and look deep within ourselves to ask what is not working? When you allow yourself the space, you will finally be able to work through any issue you encounter. 

Use these 3 ways to help you identify where you are misaligned rather than muscling through it with one more productivity hack. 

Journal: Take the Time to Let Your Thoughts Flow  

The health benefits of journaling are numerous but to name a few, journaling helps create clarity in your thoughts and feelings, facilitates more effective decision making and reduces stress. Beyond that, seeing what you are thinking on paper creates an objective perspective, allowing you the opportunity to address issues and work through them while bypassing your negative, self-doubting thoughts which cloud your judgment.  

To begin journaling when assessing your values, ask yourself some simple questions: 

  1. What am I pretending not to know? 
  2. What life are you waiting to live? 
  3. If you had nothing on your to-do list, what would emerge? ​

Spend Time in Nature 

Mental space happens naturally when you spend time in nature. There are less distractions which affords you the opportunity to turn inward and focus on observing yourself. This is extremely beneficial when you are stuck on a new project or at a crossroads for a decision at work. 

Studies say that even a few minutes in nature can improve your short-term memory and restore mental energy. You can find an outdoor activity you enjoy requiring little effort (remember: you want to give your brains a break), like hiking or walking your dog, and enjoy it often. 

Most often, the best answers and solutions already reside within us but most of us don’t allow the quiet space because it doesn’t feel productive; it is! 

Take a Clarity Break™ 

A “Clarity Break™” is a practice developed by Gino Wickman as part of EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System. The purpose is to reflect and create space for strategic thinking on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. 

You do this by taking a break from your phone, technology, home or office. The point is to get away from distractions which tether you to work. Sit with a pad of paper and pen and let your thoughts flow. Don’t focus on producing anything specific, see what emerges.  

Studies have shown that activity in many brain regions increases when our minds wander. So don’t put pressure on what your clarity breaks result in, rather create space in order to have the space to create. The trick is to practice this consistently, it is where you’ll see results by identifying patterns in your thinking and life that are causing misalignment. 

With the day-to-day pressures at work and at home, it is easy to get misaligned. These simple practices won’t allow you to put a bandage on the problem, you will finally find your solution.

More than just a bestselling author, Sue Hawkes is a keynote speaker, Certified EOS Implementer, Certified Business Coach, WPO Chapter Chair, award-winning and globally recognized seminar leader, and an entrepreneur. She is  CEO and Founder of YESS! – Your Extraordinary Success Strategies, and brings over 25 years of experience to her clients and has designed and delivered dynamic, transformational programs for thousands of people.  She has been featured and is a regular contributor to INC, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company, New York Daily News and Thrive Global. Hawkes has received numerous awards including the Dream Keeper award recognized by the Governor’s Council for her leadership program, the Regional U.S. Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion of the Year award, the Exemplary Woman of the Community award, Women Venture’s Unsung Hero award, Women Who Lead from Minnesota Business Magazine, and NAWBO Minnesota’s Achieve! Vision Award, in addition to being named a 2018 Enterprising Woman of the Year.

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