The #1 Rule That Will Make Your Life Better in 2018
While I do my best during the year to stay present, this is a time of year I allow myself a little indulgence, not only with sweets, but also, like a good Dickens novel, to look to the past and the future.
While many of my reflections are positive #gratitude, I also review past mistakes and bad experiences. It reminds us of the important lessons we have learned from our failures.
Whenever I do this reflection, the number 52 pops into my head. The memory behind this 52 isn’t a pleasant one. However, it is one of the best lessons that has ever happened to me…and it will help you…
…My hands were shaking as I boarded the snowy plane. I wiped the cold sweat from my face. In a poor effort to calm myself, I was taking several “yoga breaths.”
The flight attendant asked if I was ok. This told me that I must look even worse or paler than I imagined. What I wanted to scream in reply was “YES! I just want to sit down … the airport security machine broke and it took three hours…ridiculous…who runs an airport like this…I missed my first two flights because of this…I don’t think I’m going to arrive on time to be on stage!” I, of course, didn’t scream such things, they simply echoed in my head.
I did feel like I might collapse in a heap—a new experience for me—I responded to the flight attendant’s kindness with “may I please have some water?” I could hear that my voice was off—it had shakiness to it—and it was cracking. I was literally cracking up.
The logjam in the aisle finally released, and I made it to seat 15C. My stress gradually subsided, but I was shaking and shaken. I realized that I was on the edge of a breakdown. It turns out, despite my superhero name, I wasn’t indestructible. I’d performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people over 49 countries and while I’d used adrenaline, stress, and nerves as tools in the past for peak performance, I’d never been pushed to the edge, to the edge of a breakdown, until now.
I was doing a 24 city-book signing and speaking tour for a Fortune 500 company. The people were wonderful and so were the events. The issue was that the travel was over a five-week period (do the math). I had two young kids at home, it was the holidays, we’d just started our animation company (Equalman Studios) and I had a pressing publishing deadline for my next book.
I was at the point of a breakdown, a collapse. I was losing control of my speech, my hands, my mind.
In short, I had taken on more than I could chew. We’ve all been there.
Yet, I realized this was an opportunity for an awakening, not a breakdown. How did I arrive in this land of overload? How could I prevent this in the future?
Being a big believer in things happen for you, not to you, this experience led to my 52 Night Rule. A rule we track as a core success metric. A rule that from a short-term viewpoint, cost the business revenue. But, from a long-term perspective, is invaluable across all fronts.
- Maximum of 52 nights per year away from my family
- Protect what matters most, at all costs
- Short-term loss of revenue by turning away speaking opportunities
- Long-term increase in revenue by focusing on creating more strategic partnerships with key clients, developing a greater demand for services and raising my speaking fee.
- Building out Equalman Studios and producing short animation clips and movies for IBM, Disney, Cartier, Chase, and others
- A happier and healthier me; I’m better rested in the comfort of my home and Sleep Number bed
- My family now looks for opportunities to travel with me—my kids love the Passport stamps—and I love more time with my family, which is the greatest gift of all this time of year
At certain points, especially this time of year, we tend to take on more than we can chew. My hope is that you can learn from my experience and utilize the 52 Night Rule to put guardrails in place to protect what is important to you. What is your equivalent of the 52 Night Rule?
With New Year’s Resolutions and 2018 Goal setting around the corner, this is a great time of year to focus on what’s important and set those guardrails to protect what matters most. In order to be effective with our future resolutions/goals, we need to subtract things before we add items to our “to do” list. We need to protect the most important things in our life. Show me your schedule and I will tell you your priorities.
Please share your new rule below in the comments or post socially to @equalman. Happy holidays!
Erik Qualman is a #1 Bestselling Author that has spoken in 49 countries and reached 25 million people this decade.
This post was sponsored by Sleep Number. All thoughts are my own.