The Stress Cycle is that never- ending cycle of short-term focus, external motivation and reactive decision-making that results in stress, anxiety, burnout and depression.
The Balance Cycle requires long-term thinking, clarity of internal motivation and pro-active decision making.
The vehicle for moving from the Stress Cycle to the Balance Cycle is a personal vision for your life and your career. This is a picture of yourself in the future that is meaningful and fulfilling for you. It can help you at each turning point when you make decisions about your life and your career. It can help you every day to make those small decisions that add up to the Stress Cycle or the Balance Cycle.
The process of creating a personal vision that has the power to change your life must involve all of the following behaviors:
1. You must stop. The Stress Cycle keeps you in constant motion. You must give yourself a period of empty time to do the work of getting to a personal vision. Block out significant time over several weeks or months that are scheduled and inviolable.
2. You must get outside of your systems. Next to stopping, this is the most difficult step. You need other answers than your family, friends or corporate systems can provide. Their stock of answers is virtually identical to your stock of answers. What you need at a turning point is the ability to take a fresh look at your answers and preconceptions. It takes time and energy, but the payoff can be significant, both in terms of success and of satisfaction.
3. Go explore. You must engage in a structured exploration of all eight critical factors: stage of development, abilities, skills, interests, personality, values, goals, and family of origin. If you leave one out, it may well be significant. It can be the blind spot in your vision that forces you to stumble back into stress and crisis at the next turning point.
4. Creatively integrate all eight of the significant factors. It is too complicated a task to perform logically. How do your values interact with your goals? How does that relate to your natural abilities? These are not linear questions. You must use your creative mind.
5. Make it work in the real world. A personal vision that is just an idea is not complete. You need to bring in information from the real world to make it a useful tool for your life.
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