Driven to Distraction

Beginning this month, we start a 13-month ordeal of media distraction. You know what I am talking about end of the year, end of the quarter, conventions, investigations, elections, and speeches. It seems this is a never-ending life of distraction everywhere we are, and we cannot escape it. Do you find yourself unable to concentrate on anything? Can you remember what you did yesterday or ate last night, or the last time you laughed? 

I am just fed up, how about you? How do we escape? Where can we go? Where is the relief not found at the bottom of a bottle or a handful of OTC pills? 

One of my mentors says this: “The hardest person to lead is yourself.”  This is very true. The majority of the world has abdicated leadership to technology. Don’t get me wrong, technology is great in small doses, but there is a time to turn it completely off and live and breathe life into our lives. 

This past week, I have had conversations with many people about the idea that technology must be on 24-7-365. The reasons are many, but the common sense is missing. Here’s what I hear: “I might be needed,” “There may be a change in a situation, and I must respond,” “My boss may need something from me,” “I am required to be available at all times,” “News may break at any moment, and I must respond,” “What if my kids need me?”  Really, I mean, you cannot be serious! I happen to know doctors and ER folks, and there is protocol and scheduling which allows a person to live their lives. Even firefighters have days off. Who is the boss of YOU? I talk to clients all the time and remind them of this: “You teach others how to treat you. If you respond to every request 24-7-365, then you teach them you are always available to bleed you of your life and time off 24-7-365.”  This is not living.

It takes courage to lead oneself. The distractions are all around us, and we say, “Come on in, I’m not busy. I have time to look at you and the distractions you bring with you!”  What this tells me as a coach and mentor is you are allowing others to tell you what to do, when to do it, when to live, when to breathe, and at no time are you allowed to decide for yourself and your life. 

You are not “Self-Aware.”

Think back over 2023; when did you make key decisions about yourself and your life? If nothing comes to mind, then reflect on the decisions that took you off on a detour, not of your choosing. Who detoured you? What detoured you? Were you given a choice or was this action or person expected you to do it without question? How is your decision-making these days? How’s your self-discipline? What about your self-leadership? All these questions should cause you to stop and reflect on what goes on inside your daily life. Who determines your daily steps in your personal and professional life?

All your bus-i-ness and distraction will not lead you to a fulfilling life and fulfilling relationships. This is not conjecture; it is a fact. Just look around you. Stop and think for a minute. look around you and ask: 

  • How is my lack of leadership of myself affecting those closest to me?
  • What about those with whom I am in relationship with, how is this affecting them?
  • Are you constantly distracted by busy-work, or technology even when you are sitting next to a person?
  • Do you avoid difficult conversations, situations, and events?
  • What about fearing failure or even success?

Global Day of Unplugging – March 1, 2024

Mark your calendar for March 1, 2024, and while you are at it, mark a day next week to do the same. Do you believe that the world will stop if you are unplugged?

I want you to begin to value Y-O-U and your T-I-M-E.

How hard is that for you? We all need white space and margin in our lives. When we fail to do this, our bodies and minds, will eventually fail us. It creeps into our lives and creeps into our very soul. I find in talking with friends, clients, and people on the street, the issue is their own failure to act. The fear factor here is not real, and yet they believe something [they don’t know what] will happen to them.   I find these individuals are often impatient and impatience is a direct consequence of “their failure to act and being plugged into technology all the time.” 

Our living in an always “on mode” through technology has also caused us to become a society with a lack of accountability and follow-through to ourselves. We are like the actors in a Zombie Movie – moving through life with no direction, a life prone to self-destruction.

Have you had enough of this living in existence versus thriving?

You can do something about it, you know, but it takes you deciding you are worthy of living differently and working differently.

Here’s how:

  1. Decide to change right now, not someday.
  2. Identify what areas of your life have taken the detour. [Areas of life-living environment AKA home, Family/Parenting, Finances, Fun, Relationships, Health/Wellness, Faith Life, Professional Life, and Mental Health, and Spiritual]
  3. End all toxic influences -people, places, habits, and others.
  4. Immerse yourself in daily healthy self-care.
  5. Get professional help if you need it.
  6. Get an accountability partner whom you can trust to tell you the truth.
  7. Create “White Space” on your calendar every day. Have a stop-and-start time for work and home self-care life. 
  8. Bring people around you who make you happy, laugh, and make memories.
  9. Say “NO” to people, places, and things that create a life of stress. Sometimes what seems like a great idea, person to hang with or time is actually the cause of your dis-stress!

10. Disconnect from everything and go someplace and do nothing. Go to a park, climb a hill, go to the beach, get out of town into nature for an afternoon, do something that does not involve technology, turn it off, and put it in the trunk of your car! See how you feel then.

If you begin to feel like you are disconnected from life, guess what? That is OKAY! 

You can always reach out to a professional in your area. That professional can be a therapist, a professional coach, a mentor, a clergyman, or another professional who can help you. We are all here rooting for you to succeed!