Are you sinking, floating, treading water or swimming?

How is your life going?

How is your career going?

How often do you stop and ask yourself these questions?

(And how often do you get asked 4 rapid-fire questions to start an article?)

Self-Evaluation

If you don’t perform a simple self-evaluation regularly you are likely to waste valuable time and energy moving in the wrong direction. Or not moving at all. And honey-child, your time is far too valuable to be wasted.

The 4-Mode Method

We are always in one of these 4 modes:¬†Sinking, Floating, Treading Water, or Swimming. (We are also sometimes in pie √†-la-mode, but that’s a different story.) Use the following criteria to determine how things are going at any given point.

Sinking

Sinking means you are not keeping up with the most basic requirements. You are falling behind. You are regressing. You are deeper in effort-debt each day. Sinking is failing. Untreated health issues, substance abuse, and other addictions can all contribute to sinking. Without an intervening act, sinking will lead you to the bottom of the pool. If you are sinking you need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you don’t, sooner or later you won’t be able to ask for anything again. (That went dark quickly…)

Do you sink you are sinking? (Ask in your best German accent.)

Floating

Floating means you are putting in the minimum effort. You are waiting. You are doing nothing to improve, grow, or progress. You are simply letting external forces have their way with you. Floating leads to a lot of regret at the end of your days.

Don’t be a floater. Also, don’t wear a white shirt in the water.

Treading Water

Treading water means you are putting in an effort. You are expending energy. But it is ineffective. All of your motion is simply enabling you to hold your current position. Your intention is good. But your results are not. It is like floating but with a terrible return on your calories burned.

Treading water is motion without results. It’s also what people are doing in scary movies before the underwater thing attacks.

Swimming

Swimming means you are making progress. You have forward movement. You have coordinated efforts. Swimming means that you have discovered a repeatable process that works. You have direction. You have a goal and you are working towards it.

Just keep swimming.

Key Takeaway

Always be swimming. Know what you want and work to get it. It’s the only way to get ahead. And it’s the best way to make the best use of your time.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

What to do when you are pushed to your max.

I love driving in the mountains. Maybe it is because I grew up in Vermont, but I find the twists, turns, inclines and declines thrilling. I love the constantly changing scenery and inspiring views. Mountain driving is like life itself. It offers ups and downs, surprises, wonder and danger all packed closely together. Although in the mountains, the restrooms are always spread far apart.

One of the most fascinating features of mountain driving is the runaway truck ramp. Because of the long steep declines that are unavoidable in mountain driving, truck brakes can occasionally max out. Leaving truckers with no means to slow down or stop their vehicle. Remember Large Marge?

The runaway truck ramp is a last-resort safety measure. It is an off-ramp on the side of a downhill road that consists of an incline filled with gravel or sand. The ramp provides rolling resistance to decelerate a runaway truck and bring it safely to a stop. It’s a simple solution to a potentially deadly situation.

Runaway-Truck-Ramps

Whenever I see one of these ramps I can’t help but think that we should also have runaway people ramps. And not just for Julia Roberts. Because life can be hard on humans.

There are times when we all could use a good backup system to help us regain control. And given the challenges of the past several months, this is certainly one of those times. Stress, sadness, loss, anger, depression, and other mental illnesses can push us beyond our capacity to cope. So can debt and financial difficulties. Drugs and alcohol are famously hard on our brakes too. As are all forms of addiction. Except perhaps Jane’s Addiction. #JaneSays

When the challenges of life push you past your personal capacity do you have a runaway truck ramp? Do you have friends or family that will step in and help you through? Do you have a teacher, coworkers or a supervisor who can step up and listen or lighten the load?

Do you know which people or programs are available for you? No matter what challenges are maxing you out there is help available. There are specialized support groups, counselors and therapists. There are hotlines you can call that can help you with issues more serious than baking your Butterball turkey.

There are doctors and nurses and treatment facilities ready to help. There are websites and chats and technologically advanced resources you can tap into any time from anywhere. A simple google search will often help you find the type of support you need. And if you need any of these things, use them. They are prepared to help you regain control.

Key Takeaway

At some point, we all need backup help. The past several months have provided a wide variety of human challenges. If you feel like you are rolling downhill fast, it’s time to find some help. If you see others who are on a decline and struggling to slow down, step in and help them pump the brakes. We need to watch out for each other. There are plenty of great views just down the road. Let’s make sure we all get there safely.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this idea, please share it with them.