Success in your legal nurse consulting business gives you benefits and perks that no other RN job offers, but on the path to success you can get so busy that you lose the connection to you. The more successful you are, the bigger the price you’ll pay – if you let that happen.
Use these 41 renewal strategies to become a happier, successful legal nurse consultant:
- Commit to, and plan for, physical, emotional, spiritual and mental renewal. Read “The Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Revival Plan: Eight Ways Stressed Out Nurses Can Revive and Renew − Mind, Body and Soul” which addresses these four renewal energies. If one energy is off, the others are compromised.
- Eat like a thoroughbred. Your health, brain and memory depend on food to function. Eat well (whole foods) and eat regularly.
- Move it. Start your day with exercise. My legal nurse business day is never predictable, so I exercise before the office opens (and before most people are out of bed). When you launch your legal nurse consulting business you’ll probably overindulge in sitting because you didn’t get to do that at your RN job. We’re not designed to sit for hours on end and it’s not good for us. I’m a fan of a standing desk and alternate sitting and standing throughout the day. Try it – it works wonders.
- Sleep it off. Sleep restores us physically, emotionally and mentally. It is essential for everything from reducing stress, controlling weight and thinking straight. I always say I can solve any problem with a good night’s sleep. And if I can’t, I still enjoy the sleep.For more on physical energy read: “10 Strategies for Boosting Physical Energy to Achieve Your 2017 Legal Nurse Consulting Goals”
- Wake up for you. I love waking up every morning because I wake up for me – not my legal nurse business, not my man and not the news. Centering myself and celebrating me is the first call of the day.The first 30 minutes of every day I enjoy a cup of healthy green tea and spiritual study or a book that renews and energizes me (No TV, no magazines, no business books). Life will always throw us curve balls, fast balls and just when you think you know what’s coming, the occasional change-up. Waking up for you helps to hit them back – no matter how fast or frequently they come your way. This simple practice has been the most transformative one I’ve applied to my life.
- Get away. Take one day off with no responsibilities, like Melissa, who assigns Saturday child-care duty to her husband, sends them to the zoo or park and enjoys a renewal day.
- Take a virtual vacation. My second mom, Blanche, vacations in her bathtub with candles, bath oil, a glass of wine and her favorite music. Maybe you’d prefer to lounge in your backyard or hammock with a favorite beverage or curl up in bed with a deliciously light book. Indulging in the occasional sensory banquet is second only to an actual getaway.
- Hug a tree or an iceberg. Getting off the grid is not always an easy thing to do. (You don’t just hop onto the 5:15 train to Bhutan.) But I make it my goal at least once a year to get far away, into something so different that it forces me out of my regular relaxation routine into one that entirely disconnects me from my day-to-day life, and I allow myself to completely relax and renew.Nature and wildlife provide two of the most powerful tools for relaxation that I’ve ever found. As an example, when I was in the Arctic, kayaking, hiking, riding a zodiac raft, seeing a blue whale and worrying about nothing more than getting too close to the business end of a large, hungry, white-furred mammal renewed me in ways that a massage just cannot. Nature and wildlife lighten my load; my batteries get fully topped-off.
- Renew with music. Play music that energizes or relaxes you, depending upon what’s called for. Choose classical for intense projects. Rock and roll for cooking, household chores or packing suitcases. At night, play slow music to unwind and relax.
- Choose happiness. I love the comforts of my home and my cozy neighborhood. Being home is like experiencing a steaming cup of green tea – it just feels right. I also love traveling to new places and have hiked and biked all over the world.And then there’s the business travel I do. The hotels I stay in don’t come close to the comforts of home, nor do they rival the remote and adventurous places I’ve been.I’m not one to advocate “Barbie-Dolling” it (don’t you just hate that?), but one thing I’ve learned is that the happier I am, the happier I am. Happiness is not only contagious to others, it’s contagious to ourselves.
I don’t always wake up happy, but wherever I am physically or emotionally, I try to focus on the part of the experience that is good. For example, I might not like the bed in my hotel room, but I am passionate about teaching and mentoring women in person. That requires the occasional uncomfortable bed.
People enjoy being around happy people. I recently mentored a woman who refused to move out of the drama of a negative experience. For two weeks she dwelled on something that was easily solved in three minutes. My advice to her was: “Move on and choose happiness.” How many opportunities did she miss during those two weeks because she chose to grouse?
Happiness is not a condition – it’s a choice.
- Monitor your intimate companions. Your passionate vision will not live inside a negative house, and nothing drains energy faster than negative thinking. Your thoughts do control your life. They are your most intimate companions. When I notice I’m wasting energy thinking negatively about someone, the realization that I’m only attacking and harming myself with such thoughts helps me temper them.Create an emotional house that invites the vision already inside you to reveal itself. Banish negative thoughts. This is not to say you ignore your feelings or reality. But when you learn to control your thoughts about the experience you touch new places of feeling that are even more real.
- Turn off the critic. Do you find your inner “critical voice” rears its head way too often? “Is it me or was that legal assistant less friendly than usual?” Stop being the critic. It robs you of your success energy.My excellent assessment skills can bring out the critic in me. I can walk into my office and, in an instant, zero in on everything that’s wrong – the messy lunchroom, the missed deadline. But allowing the critic to be my dominant communication style would negatively impact my employees. Instead I intentionally notice and comment about the good things.
When that negative voice in your head gets loud, take a brisk walk or clean out a file cabinet. Let it go! Let go of the critic.
- Be nice and watch how nice people will be in return. There is an economy of emotion with niceness. Few things will give you more energy than the rewards of being nice. Likewise, nothing will drain your emotional energy faster than not playing nice with others.
- Dump toxic clutter. Because I have huge professional commitments, I try to eliminate toxic or emotionally draining relationships and other social clutter, just as I dump the clutter that accumulates on my desk. This gives me time for relationships that matter – my husband, family and best friends.Tame the news ticker running in your head. News programs thrive on the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. We may not have control over how the media reports these issues, but we do have control over what we put our attention to.
- Detach. When I was taking a dance class, a classmate told my friend, “I don’t think Vickie likes me.” Christine responded, “You don’t know Vickie. She just doesn’t think about you.” Harsh, but true. I wouldn’t choose to socialize with the woman, but I didn’t dislike her. That takes emotional energy.Why put your own precious emotional energy into something or someone else that doesn’t provide a positive return. Detach from emotional unrest that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life and feel the increase in your own positive-energy charge.
- Lighten up. Since I’m Italian, everything is intensely important to me. But unless I let go of some of that intensity I’m emotionally exhausted. When I find myself making mountains out of molehills, I ask myself, “In one year, will this be significant?” Lighten up. If you push, you get resistance. Be less serious about the outcome.
- Learn a new language. As soon as you label something “bad,” it limits your ability to have fun. I used to “hate” the cold, and then one day in Iceland a woman said to me “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” I’ve explored the Canadian Rockies, the Antarctic, the Arctic, trekked the Everest and Annapurna sides of Nepal and stood among prayer flags on a 13,000-foot high mountain pass looking across Bhutan’s Haa Valley and the Himalayas into Tibet and loved it because I brought the right gear.When I substitute the right mental gear for the word “hate,” I am amazed at how much emotional energy I gain. Take all negative words down a notch in mind and voice, and notice how differently you feel.
- Let it go. Do you suffer from dissatisfaction and frustration? Do you find yourself whining and complaining instead of acting on your passionate vision? Try letting it all go and see the difference that makes in your day. Appreciate what you have. When frustration happens, take a breath and let it go.
- Enjoy the moment. How often do you hear or say “Thank God it’s Friday”? Do we want to enjoy only two days out of seven? Why not “Thank God it’s today”? If you are living for the weekend, you aren’t living. You can’t repeat a day or even an hour or minute. You’ll never get that time back. Treat every moment as a precious gift.
- Practice gratitude. For happy people, gratitude seems to outweigh desire. Read “The More Gratitude Outweighs Desires, the Happier You Will Be” for more on gratitude.
- Accept yourself as you are. How often do we let the comparison game rob us of joy? I’m five-feet-two-inches tall, with sturdy ankles. I could long to be a lithe five-feet-seven-inches, but some things we can change and others we can’t. The things you can’t – let them go.
- Find the fun. Fun is healing and laughter keeps us sane. Laughter raises T-cell counts, relaxes blood vessels, eases muscle tension and reduces psychological stress, which enhances learning. Laughter can happen when you least expect it…if you let it.My sister Karen had a stroke, and one night we showed up at the hospital after visiting hours. My dad, Tom, two friends and I slipped past the nurse’s station and tiptoed into my sister’s room. Just as we got inside we heard the nurse coming. Tom whispered, “Quick, into the shower!” and all five of us crowded in. As soon as the nurse left, we burst out of the shower, laughing so hard we were on the floor, except for one friend who said, “How can you laugh with your sister in that condition? You’re so insensitive.” At that moment, Karen, who is also a nurse and was much improved, gave us a thumbs up and joined the fun by doing her impression of a gorked out stroke victim waving around the stuffed animal we’d brought her. That’s when my “sensitive” friend got it. Fun happens even in the middle of a stroke. Laugh every day.
- Create your own party. Growing up in New Orleans taught me that you can have a party anywhere – at your house, in your mind or, as my dad says while chowing down on a good muffaletta, in your mouth. Embrace life with energy and joy. Wherever you go physically, emotionally or mentally, take the party with you.
- Eat dessert first. Sometimes we treat renewal like a dessert we have to earn by eating our vegetables. Mardi Gras taught me to celebrate before the hard work. Before the sacrifice of Lent we would party hearty for two weeks. That’s Mardi Gras, feast before fast. Eat dessert first.
- Quiet down. I confess, meditation doesn’t work as well as for me as it does for others. I fall asleep. My strategy is to start my day in quiet and spiritual study over a cup of steaming hot tea. A time to reflect on who I want to be, how I want to show up and what is really important.Whichever you choose, a quiet moment or meditation, you’ll feel more balanced all day and more tuned in to your spiritual source. Refuse to rely on the oldest excuse in the book: “I don’t have time.” It only takes a minute.
- Affirm life. I can give myself a boost just by remembering what Howard Caesar says: “Life is good – all the time!” I admit that my prayers used to focus on asking for something, perhaps freedom from a health concern or getting paid by a client. Today I focus on affirming life. Quoting a friend, “It’s a good day if I wake up.“
- Spark your intellect. Read a thought-provoking book unrelated to your career. Listen to a thought-provoking audio recording.
- Enjoy mental junk food occasionally. When I first met Tom I was only reading business books and serious literature. He brought me a frivolous book and said, “If you put yourself on a diet of nothing but turkey, rice and broccoli, you’ll soon lose your enthusiasm for eating.” Sometimes we need a book like Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty or Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One: books that are like eating a bag of salty, hot, buttered (real butter) popcorn. Once you start, you can’t put them down and often consume more than you should.
- Challenge your senses. Enjoy a gallery, arboretum or museum you wouldn’t normally visit.
- Create something new. Creating anything, whether a new recipe in the kitchen, a new product or a sculpture, renews and improves your mind. Every time we link two ideas that we never before connected, we form a synaptic bond between two neurons, and these synapses literally equate to brain growth.
- Change your mindset. A negative mindset focuses mental energy on the wrong thing. I’m usually on time but rarely early, and it was a big deal one morning when the hotel’s room service was 20 minutes late. I was about to speak to 300 people, yet I was freaking out over a missing bowl of yogurt instead of mentally rehearsing my presentation. My focus was totally in the wrong place.We’re all human, and we’re going to lose focus at times, but we need to rein ourselves in. The wrong mindset depletes mental energy necessary to perform at our best.
- Spend time with the people you love. People who enjoy an intimate relationship live longer, and strong relationships generally require time. Share a hobby. Walk or bike together.Leigh has been married for 30 years, and every year she and her husband Tim renew their commitment to their marriage. At the hotel in San Antonio where they honeymooned, they reserve room 734. Their tradition begins on the balcony, where they exchange cards and gifts while a bubble machine fills the air with cheer. They toast each other and hang a wildly colorful wind sock off the railing. Later they look up from the pool and watch the bubbles and festivity happening on their balcony. Talk about renewal!
- Create traditions. You’ve heard the phrase “What do you expect, a song and dance?” Tom and I have a silly tradition. If one of us completes a task but feels we haven’t received adequate recognition or appreciation, he or she can ask for “a song and dance.” The other must make up a song on the spot, along with some dance steps. It usually goes something like this: “Thomas [or Vickie] is my hero; he took out the garbage; it was really smelly. He washed out the can. . . .” You get the idea. Perfection is not necessary.
- Create memories. Engage your friends, coworkers and people you love in experiences you can enjoy now and remember fondly as years pass. We all love to sit around and tell stories. Things don’t bring happiness, but experiences keep giving and giving.Jan admits she’s terrible at remembering dates, but her husband Larry is a romantic to whom dates are important. One January he called her at work and invited her to dinner at their favorite restaurant. He ordered a bottle of wine and she began to wonder what they were celebrating. What had she forgotten? Finally, he glowingly announced they’d gotten such a late start getting married they would celebrate their anniversary twice a year to catch up.
The best gift I’ve ever received was when Tom loaded many of our photos of friends, family and vacations onto my computer as my screen saver. Through all those photos I can relive my favorite memories.
- Hang with friends. Remember to make time for friends. We all like to be spontaneous, but let’s face it, we’re busy. So schedule, schedule, schedule – an early morning walk, lunch or a glass of wine after work. Even a weekend sleepover might be fun. (Ladies, your husband will love you for this one.).When one of my best friends, Missy, and I traveled to Miami for a girls’ weekend, we freed ourselves of work, family and responsibility. We never left the hotel grounds and did nothing but talk and talk and talk. We simply celebrated each other and totally reconnected, renewing our friendship along with our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves.
- Celebrate passages and milestones. When Tom and I received our bar exam scores, we took champagne and our test score envelopes to our favorite outdoor water sculpture to read the results. When we bought a lot on which to build our house, we celebrated on the site with close friends. Susan, the master of ritual, celebrates menopause with her women friends as each one of them reaches that passage.Even death is worthy of celebration. Coming from a world that practiced tearful, whispering wakes, Tom was shocked at his first New Orleans funeral. He sure wasn’t expecting a boisterous party with lots of donuts and coffee cups of 90-proof “tea.” Realizing we weren’t celebrating that a person had died but rejoicing that the person had lived, Tom got into the celebration – and the “tea.”
Celebrate every milestone in an inventive manner that creates lasting memories. Don’t wait for the big win, start celebrating to-day.
Five Final Strategies to Pull It All Together
Recognize that to live a passionate life you must attend to all of your needs, not just one or two. Energy in one area (emotional) powers energy in another (physical). Here are six strategies for pulling it all together.
- Set renewal goals. You are just as important as your career and family. Plan your renewal. I include everything in my renewal goals from maintaining a daily fitness regimen to destinations I want to travel to. Regularly assess and update your renewal plan.
- Start small and do one thing at a time. Enjoy five minutes of quiet, then ten. Add one vegetable a day, then eat two. Turn off the television for one hour, then two. Eliminate one fast-food trip a week, then eliminate two. Eliminate one trip a day to the office candy bowl, then three and you’ll lose seven pounds a year. It takes 60 days to turn your lifestyle change into a habit.
- Banish all excuses. I know a woman who works 70 hours a week, and her excuse for not getting away for a weekend is that she’s too spent when the weekend comes. Yet a relaxing weekend away is probably the perfect prescription. Renewal often takes a little time and effort, but wicked success and career are nothing without a renewed spirit.
- Accept wherever you are in your life now and start from there. Know that you can always start fresh. Wherever you are in life, there was “before” and there is “now.” Maybe you haven’t exercised in three years or thirty. Start now – and forget before.
- Take a day off from discipline. French fries in place of one serving of broccoli won’t kill you, but unrelenting discipline will make you wish you were dead. Pass the ketchup!
You’ll thrive in your legal nurse consulting business when you design it to take care of you. Use these 41 strategies and you’ll never have to pay the uninvited price of success.
Success Is Yours!
P.S. Comment and share three renewal strategies you need to implement now.