Posted on Jul 5th, 2006

I’ve struggled a bit with this article trying to put my thoughts into words. How do you talk about something that has so many sides to it like holidays? This time of year can be a lot of fun but it can also be filled with a lot of stress. With the holidays fast approaching (I mean they are on us now) things start to really heat up and move quickly. If we’re not really careful we can get into "doing mode" and believe performance is all that really counts.

You know the get it done, keep going, and get more done, kind of thing.

To help me with this article today, I went to dictionary.com to get a general definition of holiday:

1. A day free from work that one may spend at pleasure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event.

2. a religious feast day, a holy day.

3. Chiefly British, A vacation. Often used in the phrase on holiday

It seems that the first two definitions are really appropriate for many of us during this time in Western Culture. There are a number of holidays celebrated during December that fall into the "day of leisure…a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event" or that fall into the "holy day" category.

But I know that for me I need to be really careful or the actual day of the holiday is not so much a "day of leisure" as it is a “day of recovery” because I’ve been way out of balance getting to the day. Or maybe worse, it is a day filled with so much activity; celebratory meals, company, gifts etc that the day is a blur of activity rather than a day of enjoyment.

My new mantra "awareness is curative" helped us to feed 18 people Thanksgiving Day. And in addition we were able to enjoy everything that went into the day including the planning, buying and preparing. The trick was to fill each day with lots of STOPs to get a handle on where we were and check to see if things were on course.

If you’re not familiar with the notion of STOP it’s out of "The Inner Game of Work” by Tim Gallwey and it goes like this:

(S)tep back from the situation

(T)hink about what is going on

(O)rganize your thoughts (get in touch with you)

(P)roceed again (maybe slowly) in the chosen direction

These STOPs allowed both Tom and I to stay organized and to really plan the event from menu to market, to prep, to table and to serve. But it did something else for me that was much more important.

The STOPs allowed me to stay in touch with why I was doing the dinner and what my bigger goal was. When I started to be a bit agitated or worried over things the STOPs provided a wonderful way to check in with myself and keep on track both emotionally as well as functionally.

Here is another big piece…I walked away from work completely guilt free. The STOPs helped me stay on course to complete what was necessary in the office. That way I was completely free from my business obligations while preparing for the event. So what does all this have to do with "awareness is curative?" If I can stay on top of why I’m doing something and how it relates to my bigger purpose then I have all the internal momentum I need to see things through. My desire is taking me through the steps rather than some outside sense of obligation. And if my desire is pushing me forward it’s pretty easy to stay on track. Why? ‘Cause it’s my desire - in other words, I want to do it.

All of this is to say…give yourself permission to enjoy the time you take off from work. If you don’t get a project completed before it’s time to switch gears, just leave yourself good notes so you can pick you where you left off and give yourself permission to leave it. (Those good notes will help a lot to leave the project plus you’ll love them when you come back!) Then you move into your holidays with plenty of time to accomplish your holiday goals.

Take a moment to reflect on where you are, what you’ve learned and where you’re headed. Remember this is a time for you to replenish. But in my opinion what is more important is that it is a wonderful time to celebrate your life; to celebrate the incredible miracle of you.

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

Jillian Middleton is a Mentor Coach and Trainer, and author of the courses "5 Steps to Working Less and Making More in Network Marketing" and Setting Up Your Store Hours. As creator of the "Savvy Sponsoring Strategies" Program, Jillian trains network marketers and direct sales consultants the same strategies she used to build two 6-figure network marketing businesses in 5 years. For more information on Jillian or her programs visit http://www.SavvySponsoring.com

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