It turns out that the oxygen mask connection I made in an earlier post is pretty widely known. It also turns out that I am not the only one to think I came up with the idea all on my own. Sorry to burst that bubble for you guys.
Since I’m always trying to add value, I feel an almost competitive obligation to find a new life balance takeaway from the flight attendant opening speech. I realize this is limited territory -- unless of course you haven’t been in a car since 1958 and don’t know how to use a seatbelt.
Know your exits and have multiple options.
With so many external pressures and responsibilities, it’s only natural that we’ll have moments when we seriously question if we CAN do it all. The cup is not just full, but pouring over the edges and we’re not sure how to stop the overflow.
As comedian Steven Wright says... that feeling you get when you lean back on your chair and you catch yourself just before you fall.
We've all had those moments when the advice of “just meditate” may not cut it. You also know that going to the spa or even taking a walk is SO not happening anytime soon.
Other options for "escape" which may not be reasonable include getting in the car and just driving until you run out of gas and/or locking yourself in the bathroom with a full bottle of Kendall Jackson and not coming out until it’s gone.
“Exiting” by definition requires starting from the inside and going out. We’re talking about times when physically leaving the situation is just not possible. Rather, we need to depart the internal frustration, negativity, stress, depression or “I’m gonna lose it” feeling.
Everyone has different strategies which work for them. And different things are effective in different situations. The important thing is that you know where your exits are before you actually need to use them. Notice you get the exit speech and double pointing fingers when the plane is still on solid ground.
My assignment to you is to consciously think of five ways you can almost instantly change your view of the world, even when you can’t change your world.
Here are my “exits”:
1. Thinking of my happiest, funniest, goofiest memories. Sometimes the closest exit is behind us.
2. Asking, is this life or death? It may sound morbid, but sometimes this requires thinking of an actual “life or death” moment to create instant perspective. (Like my experience in Cannes.)
3. Asking for help. If you can't get out by yourself, call for assistance. Because I was sort of forced to be so self-sufficient as a kid, it took me many years to realise that asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Even when I can't get someone to physically help me, just being able to vent and get support over the phone (usually while multi-tasking) saves me.
4. Counting to 10. Call me old fashioned but it works. I think of it as a 10-second meditation.
5. Naming that tune. Yes, I actually sing. For some reason, “You & Me Against the World” by Helen Reddy always does the trick. Weird choice, I know. But I’ve been singing that song to feel better since it came out in 1974. For fire emergencies, I prefer "Disco Inferno."
As a side note, singing also comes in handy when trying to grocery shop with two or more kids. Before entering the store, I threaten to launch into my loud personal rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at the first sign of any whining, fighting or begging. I’ve received many compliments over the excellent behavior of my children in public.
Know your exits. When needed, get to the best exit as quickly as possible leaving all emotional baggage behind.