Since Relax. Set. Go. is a timeless and ongoing thread, I thought it would be helpful to have the journal read in chronological order instead of a more traditional counterclockwise archive.   With so much backward in the world today, you can always rely on Relax. Set. Go. to move in forward motion.  You can also find links to various posts on the sidebar and through RSG-isms, most of  which come back around to the journal.

Time doesn’t fly these days, it evaporates. Everyone craves it. No one has enough of it. It’s the chorus emerging from today’s 24/7 culture and it’s at the forefront of why everyone is stressed out, overburdened and living life in overdrive.

I used to say, “My cup runneth over with stress. I can’t take on one more thing, no matter how small.” I had a happy marriage with a beautiful kid, a high charged career, great friends and an active social life. I had everything but I had no peace in my life. I was always distracted and in many ways, I was falling apart from the stress of giving every minute of the day to someone or something else. I didn’t know which moved faster — my mind reciting an endless To Do list or me racing from one thing to another; constantly racing against the clock.

The pressure was always on and I realized it was taking its toll. I knew that I wasn’t really wired to slow down, so I had to find a way to stay centered and positive in the present.  In other words, I had to find perspective and for that, I knew I had to pause. Everyone has time to pause. Even people who say they don’t have time to breathe, do breathe and can pause. It’s what you do with it that makes the difference. If nothing else, it gives you the chance to question chaos . . . to put it in perspective.   When something else, it gives you the chance for so much more.  It gives you the chance to Relax. Set. Go.

If you don’t believe me, take this simple test. Try to clear your mind and do only one thing: watch the clock for one minute. Did you make it? You may be surprised by how many people crave more time but struggle to stop everything. It’s hard to do and almost no one turns off completely (at first). Many people become impatient as the seconds tick by, ironically, frustrated that time is not moving fast enough.  It’s amazing how long one minute can be when you are actually watching the clock and not racing against it.

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.”  Albert Einstein

A minute can go in a flash but it can also be enough time to make a difference in your day and ultimately, in your life. Time doesn’t discriminate but it is what you make it. The second you start racing, the clock does too, or at least, your perception of it does. When you breathe and take things slowly, your emotional clock doesn’t spin quite so fast.  It helps you put things into perspective and oddly enough, perspective can buy you time.  So, time goes from being the liability to the asset and the asset is yours to make the most of.

Relax. Set. Go.
is about taking a break, setting the stage for success and going for it with passion and confidence.  With Relax. Set. Go. you will find your personal best and attract the same in others. Oh yeah, and you’ll be ready to dream bigger and to achieve more than ever before.

It didn’t happen overnight but somewhere over the years we stopped, stopping. It used to be customary to stop, or to relax, even for a minute.

In many ways, little breaks were automatically built into our day because the world moved much slower and we didn’t put so much pressure on time pressed productivity. The check really was in the mail and it took at least 4 days to get anywhere. There was an expectation of waiting. There was an understanding that everything took time. We weren’t so impatient and that alone gave us time to pause.

Today, technology, excess choice and unrealistic 24/7 expectations keep us in overdrive and it can get pretty chaotic on a regular basis. As we move faster and faster, our perception of how much time things take becomes more and more distorted. We used to “stop to smell the flowers.” Now we “stop to smell the coffee”, only while we drink it so we can get back to work or whatever we are doing to get more done– and we never get it all done, do we?

In an absurd contradiction, technology has made our lives more complicated by making everything so convenient, accessible and fast. Email, instant messaging and social networking are the definition of a modern paradox. While fast and accessible, they are also some of the biggest time bandits we face today. There is little that sucks up time faster than constantly trying to empty the inbox. At the same time, social networking has turned six degrees of separation into one degree and has made everyone the star, writer, producer and director of their own reality show. It’s also spawned a whole new way of doing business and a whole new layer to how society interacts. It can be exhilarating, exhausting and necessary. One thing is for sure, it takes time but where does it fall on an already full priority time line?

Because the Internet is here all the time, it feels like the same is expected of us. This creates the pressure to respond and the stress to produce, in an instant. There is a cultural distortion that implies “if you don’t respond quickly, you don’t care . . . if you don’t produce immediately, you’re not on top of things.” I remember when it was expected that smart business proposals took time to construct, write and present (in the long lost method of “in person”). Now, we are sent a request for proposal, expected to see it the minute it hits the inbox and further, expected to drop everything else (also urgent, of course) to ensure it’s immediate response (via email). Gone are realistic time based expectations and face to face communication. The new deadline is “due yesterday” and not only do we speak with our fingertips, but like everything else, they are always in motion.

Relax. Set. Go.
is a perfect partner in an over-extended world.  It gives back the built in pause and that alone makes a crazy day seem more manageable.  Relaxing your mind and body feels good even when everything around you doesn’t.  Even better, when you relax, you actually reboot . . . and that sets you on a path to go for even more!

In business the expectation is to be on call 24/7, or as one of my top executive friends says, 25/8, always with blackberry/iphone in hand. Saturday and Sunday shouldn’t even be called the weekend because for so many of us, the week never ends. We take our work home. We take it everywhere we go. Meetings are booked back to back with no time to spare, face to face interaction has been replaced by email and everything is expected to be completed in a nanosecond. Corporate cutbacks and this lousy economy mean fewer people are doing more work. At the same time, the demand for quantifiable return on investment has been pushed to the limit and monitored like never before. All this is happening while the cost of doing business is increasing and the margins of success are decreasing. Personal life is not much different. The phone is always on, the calendar is always full, everything is expected to be completed in a nanosecond, the cost of living is increasing and the margin of successfully getting everything done is decreasing.

Whether at work or in personal life, we tend to move from one obligation to the next, often moving so fast that things get left incomplete because of scheduling, deadlines and unexpected interruptions. I call it the big blur phenomenon because we are moving so fast that there is little distinction between the things that define our lives. As a result, we often miss what’s most important. Days merge into weeks, weeks merge into months and time flies faster and faster. It’s no wonder that we are stressed out and in need of a break.  Relax. Set. Go.

The world expects a lot of us and we expect even more of ourselves. I’m not about to suggest that we can change what is expected of us, at least not overnight. I will suggest, however, that to a large extent, we are responsible for our own overload. Many of us don’t even see it because we have become complacent and frankly, our expectation is to be overwhelmed. But what if you could control the expectation? What kind of difference would that make in your life?

Overload is directly related to the relevance, or the perspective that we assign to each and every thing we do. If everything is perceived as important (value) and urgent (time based) then everything will be important and urgent. Rest assured, it will also be a direct line to exhaustion and burnout. At the same time, if everything is perceived as urgent, regardless of importance, then urgency will run your life and it will still lead to exhaustion and burnout.

I used to say that I missed being able to focus on what was important rather than what was urgent (everything). I was being pushed to the limit, not only by my own sense of urgency but by the urgent requests of others — both personally and professionally. Were they really urgent requests? Or was the urgency driven by another person’s agenda? It took Relax. Set. Go. to realize that urgency is often manufactured and that another person’s agenda didn’t automatically have to become my own. I also realized that urgency is compounded by stress. Less stress; less urgency; more importance. And of course, stress is compounded by time based expectations.

I finally realized The Common Sense Law of Perspective. It’s the true “secret,” and a key tenet to Relax. Set. Go. The Common Sense Law is this simple fact: Perspective drives the reality we create. But what drives perspective? More importantly, what do we let drive perspective? How much thought do we actually put into perspective? If we don’t think about it, question it and shape it, then chances are that we are not in control of it . . . and therefore not in control of our reality.

Relax. Set. Go. will teach you to be both the observer and driver of your perspective and therefore, of the reality you create. A positive perspective will always trump the negative and the ability to create what I call “pocket perspective” will always trump chaos. Pocket perspective is the ability to compartmentalize and apply positive perspective to individual stressors versus a mountain of them. Think of it as the “one thing at a time” method of perspective and ultimately stress management.  Once you are able to do this, the mountain doesn’t exist.

The beauty of perspective is that we really can change it in an instant. Consider how quickly you can go from seeing an old woman to a young one or vice versa (pictured).  It may take a little practice to change your day to day perspective but it’s easy with Relax. Set. Go. Perspective allows you to adjust, not what the world expects of you, but what you expect of yourself. This doesn’t mean trading high standards in exchange for mediocrity. To the contrary, excellence is exactly what we are striving for here; an excellent life, to be exact.

I used to say “it’s not what I get done that stresses me out, it’s what I don’t get done.” I was so fixated on the things that I didn’t do, that I rarely gave myself credit for all of the things that I did accomplish.

No matter how large, small, important or irrelevant, I would stress over the things I expected to do but didn’t get to. My to do list was an ongoing pile up of deadlines and intentions that weighed me down, closed me in and threatened my good nature. My to do list turned into a stress list and the greater the stress, the more emotionally blocked and subconsciously negative I became. I was suffering from Stress Block Syndrome. It happens when the negative influences of stress work to block emotional clarity and energy consciousness.

Picture a gateway that affects the decisions you make and the manner in which you live your life. Negative energy blocks the gateway and positive energy keeps it open. No matter how self aware people think they are, most live in a low state of energy consciousness. Relax. Set. Go. reclaims the ability to relax and pause. But, it’s success lies in the ability to recognize and set the energy and attitudes that guide your life. It’s about setting life to the positive and living life to the fullest, or more importantly, to fulfillment. That alone gives pause. You will relish the moment and have the confidence and passion to go for anything and everything you desire.

The energy you project, whether consciously or subconsciously, defines the way people see you and the way you see the world around you. Energy is a boomerang. It’s your karma and it does come around. You think what you believe. You are what you think. You project what you are. You attract what you project. The goal is to project positive energy, even in negative situations.

Without self direction, personal energy and therefore you, are subject to the whim of circumstance. What is your personal energy? How is it influenced by the situation or by the way you may physically feel at the time? Are you operating in the negative or in the positive? By answering the following questions, you will begin to raise your energy consciousness and in a few quick steps you will be able to identify, feel and set your energy like never before.

1. How do you feel when you are in a great mood?
2. How do you feel when you are stressed out?
3. How do you react to stressful situations when you are in a great mood?
4. How do you react to stressful situations when you are overwhelmed?
5. How do your feelings and reactions change when you are tired?

Negative Energy: pessimistic, lethargic, unhappy, agitated, insecure, fearful, resentful, narrow minded, frustrated, anxious . . .

Positive Energy: optimistic, energetic, happy, composed, confident, courageous, appreciative, open minded, content, relaxed . . .

How would your life be different, if even at the height of stress, all of your radiating energy was positively radiant? If you were an observer instead of participant in every conversation you have or in everything you do, how would you view your behavior or the way you speak? If energy = attitude = actions, what kind of energy would you create? One of the challenges we face today is that high stress at a fast pace causes us to live reactively. Negative energy is reactive. Positive energy is proactive. Relax. Set. Go. gives you the break you need to stop before you think, to think before you act and to always act with positive energy and a winning attitude.

Positive energy is the cornerstone to everything. When you master it, you master the key to a positive mindset. Energy = attitude = actions. Energy = mindset. Mindset is conditioned by the habitual, often subconscious narratives we tell ourselves . . . about ourselves, about our circumstance and about the people around us. Unfortunately and most accidentally, much of our conditioning is steeped in negative reinforcement instead of positive affirmation.

Relax. Set. Go. shifts mindset from the subconscious to the conscious, breaks the negative patterns of narrative conditioning and builds the positive ones. What is your mindset? Do you “believe it when you see it,” or do you “see it when you believe it?” Conscious mindset allows you to choose your energy, write your narrative and go for everything you set your mind to.

The past is the past so it is only present if you take it with you. In the past, if waking up to a rainy day made you tired; relax, leave it behind and set anew. In the past, if you thought you couldn’t change the way you felt, or felt you couldn’t succeed at something; relax, leave it behind and set anew. What you take with you, or where you go, is really up to you.

Relax and stop what you are doing. Really stop. Breathe slowly and deeply until you feel a sense of calm and balance. If it helps, visualize a light switch and turn off any remaining noise in your mind. No distractions or spinning allowed.

Set your personal energy. To do this, literally choose to project positive energy. Visualize positive energy filling your body with each deep breath and negative energy leaving your body with each exhale. Do this until all of the negative is out and gone. Use your breathing to pump up the positive energy until you feel it in a heightened state. Try to visualize your energy as a color or symbol (like a ping or swirl of light). Mark it and make that color or symbol an indelible imprint for bringing on your best energy. If you can’t mark it with a visual, then mark it with a distinct but subtle physical symbol. Try squeezing your fist or opening your palms to the sky. Whatever you choose, your mark will become the trigger for instantaneous energy engagement. Whenever I need to engage my positive energy, I look for something orange to trigger a powerful quick step to success.  It’s my energy mark and it works every time.

Set your personal narrative (this is what you say to yourself). Make it positive, fill it with inspiration and say it with conviction. It can be as simple as “today is going to be an excellent day,” or “I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.“ If you have a specific goal in mind, then be specific.

Go for it. A healthy dose of positive affirmation sets you on course to go for anything and everything you desire. It also strengthens your personal energy output. Remember, energy is a boomerang. The people around you may not know the narrative you tell yourself but they will begin to react to it based on the very positive energy you project. And that alone can begin the transformation to a truly remarkable life.

If you think you can’t change your energy in an instant, think again. Athletes, actors and business executives do it all the time. Even you have probably changed your energy many times without giving it a name or recognizing how it was done. The method may vary but the idea of snapping out of one energy and snapping into another has been around a very long time.

Athletes use positive mental attitude (PMA) before a practice or competition. They channel, as individuals and as a team, a winning attitude where failure isn’t an option. They set their energy and reinforce it by directing their narrative to a very specific outcome: to win. Then they usually mark it with a physical action and a loud, affirmative call out like “Let’s go.” That marker solidifies the energy/narrative and puts it into unwavering action.

Actors are trained to utilize energy at will. They regularly get into character by channeling the emotional energy of a past experience that they can then put into motion. And, it has long been a technique of fashion photographers to verbally encourage models to think, feel and project a certain mood in order to get the desired result. Business executives pump themselves up with confidence in order to overcome fear and to focus on success. And, life in general has pushed each and every one of us to embrace strength in order to overcome obstacles, be they large or small. If you have ever said “I can do this,” you have set your narrative to the positive. If you said it with conviction, you strengthened your personal energy and potential outcome.

Whether practiced as such or not, snapping into positive energy always has the common thread of Relax. Set. Go. The best results always start when you relax and rid yourself of negative distraction. When you are calm and clear, there are no barriers to how you set your positive energy and narrative. And once set, you are always ready to go for whatever outcome you desire.
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