Archive for February, 2010

Your life is a lot like The Grand Canyon.

Posted in Organize, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 28, 2010 by Chuc Barnes

I speak for a variety of audiences and last week I told a speaker friend, Marian Madonia, that I like to talk about The Grand Canyon in my keynote presentations because 1) even if people haven’t been to The Grand Canyon, they quickly relate to its enormous size, and 2) I love to hike and float through The Grand Canyon myself (as you know from the things we’ve discussed in this blog).

I told Marian that I enjoy saying to audiences that there’s no need to run at The Grand Canyon because wherever you are at The Grand Canyon, you’re already there.

Marian has a very fast mind and she immediately said, “Chuc, The Grand Canyon is a lot like your life. It’s right there for you to see and experience, but you can’t see it all.”

I loved what Marian said because in my way of thinking Marian is right.

Marian went on to say that lots of people spend lots of time focusing only on the steps they need to take and that, if you only focus on your steps at The Grand Canyon, you miss out on the big picture and the richness of the entire experience.

I loved that comment too because it also is true.

When hiking at The Grand Canyon, it of course is important to watch the steps you take because trails are steep, rocks are apt to be in the way, and you could even step in a hole or fall off the trail. What’s just as important, however, is not just to watch your steps, but to look around to enjoy and appreciate the beauty and vastness of the canyon.

Isn’t this also true of life? I think so.

The Grand Canyon is so beautiful, so awe-inspiring, so vast that you simply can’t see all of it in a moment. Even if you fly over The Grand Canyon, you can’t see the flowers, smell the fragrances, feel the temperature changes, examine the caves and ancient dwellings (See the photo at the top), and you certainly can’t experience the true depth of the canyon. It is simply too big to see it all at one time.

I propose that your life is mighty big too. I suggest that your life (just like mine) is right there in front of you and me to see, experience, and enjoy. And, if you agree with me, wouldn’t you say that it’s a good idea to make a plan for your life so you can follow the trail that takes you where you want to go? Likewise, wouldn’t you say that it seems silly and wasteful to do all the hurrying that everyone is doing? After all, why hurry when hurry makes you miss so much?

Everyone has their own perspective about the way they see The Grand Canyon and the way they see their life. For example, my sons and I were standing on the edge of the South Rim of the canyon and admiring the beautiful colors and formations when a bus full of tourists pulled up. The tourists got out of the bus to look at the canyon and my sons and I laughed when one man looked at the canyon and said, “Boy, that sure is a big hole. Ok, let’s go on to Vegas.”

Pretty funny.

I think planning is important, whether you’re exploring the canyon, traveling to Vegas, or trying to make the most of the minutes in your life. I think teamwork, scheduling steps at the right time, prioritizing and taking breaks are important too.

How about you? Do you have an opinion? If so, please share your thoughts here.

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Set your direction, make your plan, and go with the flow!

Posted in Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 18, 2010 by Chuc Barnes

In previous posts in this blog I’ve explained that The Grand Canyon has been a big influence on my family and me. When friends notice this, they tell me about their experiences at The Grand Canyon. I love what they tell me, and many people give me ideas to share with you.

My friend, Cathy Newton, told me that she thought about what I’ve said about The Grand Canyon when listening to a speaker (Abraham-Hicks) who talks about the importance of living life so you’re “going with the river that’s moving downstream, rather than trying to fight the river and swim upstream.” Cathy then gave me a CD so I could hear the speaker for myself.

When I heard the  CD, I thought about The Grand Canyon too. I loved the thought and the metaphor.

I can tell you first hand that one thing you quickly notice when you’re riding down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is that the river is moving very, very fast while taking you over rocks, around bends, over falls, and into scores of dips. The energy and adventure of all this is very, very exciting; and it’s a joy and a thrill to move so quickly towards your goal

The ride is so exciting that you don’t want it to end. Please note the above picture and you’ll see what I mean. Energy is all around you.

I’m told that the river moves at 30 miles per hour in some places. Think about that! That’s a very strong current and it would be absolutely silly to try to swim upstream in the Colorado River.

Now please think about your life.

Are you following your life’s vision by setting up a plan that helps you move downstream with energy and a sense of adventure, or are you becoming absorbed so much with everyday activities that you’re getting stressed and worn out from your battle with the river?

Your answer of course is up to you, and my answer for me is up to me. I’m deciding to do a better job of going with the flow.

How do you feel about this? Please leave a comment here.

Beware of compulsive cell phone use!

Posted in Balance, Organize, Self-management, Stress, Teamwork, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 7, 2010 by Chuc Barnes

My friend, Steven Iwersen, sent me a link to a post on a blog that I absolutely loved, and I am recommending that you check this link too. The link is for a post on the Harvard Business Review blog at

Can a Smart Phone Make You More Patient?
http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2009/12/can_a_smart_phone_make.html

The author of the post, Alexandra Samuel, explains in the blog that she loves her cell phone and the fact that it helps her make use of time and how that makes her feel more patient. Ms Samuels then goes on to explain that that true patience, however, is an internal matter (I love that) and that compulsive use of her phone inhibits reflection which is the best kind of patience.

Wow! What a great observation!

I wholeheartedly endorse Ms. Samuel’s comments. In my opinion, she is very wise to realize that a smart phone can be as helpful as a best friend and, when you use it compulsively, it can be as harmful as an enemy because it robs you of your ability to reflect.

Here’s a suggestion.

Think of your smart phone as a portable desk. That portable desk is wonderful because it helps you make decisions and act on key priorities when you move from place to place. Like any desk, however, that same desk can clutter up your mind with reminders of all the things you have to do.

I call that stress. What do you call it?

Please look at your office desk right now and realize that all those notes and scraps on top of it are like little radios that only you can hear and they keep saying, “Do me, Handle me, Get me done, Look at me.” In essence, I propose that those papers and notes are prioritizing you.

You don’t want that kind of stress, do you? I sure don’t.

I’m a smartphone (iPhone) user too. I love my iPhone, yet I can see how, when I keep checking it over and over, it not only distracts me. It also robs me of sanity time.

I suggest that, if you’re honest with yourself (and I’m talking to myself too), we check our smart phones so much that they become addictive. You don’t want an addiction, do you? I certainly don’t.

So, one more time. Please think of your smart phone as a portable desk. I’m suggesting this because perhaps you (like me) will realize it’s a good idea to treat your portable desk the same way you know you need to treat a real world office desk by clearing it up and leaving it alone alone for different periods of the day, particularly when you are with your family and friends.

Sanity time, reflecting time, creativity time, appreciating time — all of these are gifts. I suggest you want to protect these gifts by blocking off time for them and shutting down your smartphone from time to time.

Does this make sense? Please comment here.