“Wellbeing” and “work / life balance” sounded like an annoying foreign language to Frank when I first met him.
Frank had been sent to attend a 6-session Mind Body Wellness program by his doctor. He attended only "to get his wife to stop nagging him” and to prove to his doctor that his prior three heart attacks had nothing at all to do with his lifestyle or emotional patterns.
Frank was a typical “alpha –male”. Mid-fifties, successful, grey hair, trim, intense and energetic. Through the first three sessions of the program he was also an angry, dismissive, arrogant, workaholic, judgmental, impatient “know-it-all”. He would not engage in the information offered. He sat sneering at his fellow classmates as if they were inferior beings.
His doctor, loving wife and children had been telling him for years something needed to change, but if an idea did not originate with Frank, then he was incapable of considering it may have value. Frank just became more focused on becoming more controlling and driven in changing the things outside himself. It was uncomfortable to be in a room with his intensity. His face was red, muscles always tense. As with many men, his fear and loss hid behind a wall of anger.
And then lightening struck, a light bulb went off, transformation began. Frank finally deigned to take the simple Blivet Challenge.
I learned the word blivet from my husband’s family. Now my family uses it all the time. Their definition of blivet is when you try to fit ten pounds of horse manure into a five-pound bag. (They use a different word!)
When we create “life blivets” things really stink…for ourselves and all those around us!
We simply must come to terms with the fact that you can only fit twenty-four hours of activity into a twenty-four hour day. Choices must be made, sleep included. Priorities and boundaries must be set. It is immature, unrealistic and delusional to behave otherwise. (And yes, I know, the popular culture encourages us to live as if this were not true.)
The bottom line is that if you want to know what a person’s true values are, don’t listen to what they say.
Instead, learn how they spend their time, with whom they spend their time, what they spend their money and energy on, and what they spend most of their time thinking about.
When Frank made his Blivet pie charts, he could not dismiss what they were telling him. He could "see" what he had been unable to "hear". A picture IS worth a thousand words! The “knowing” came from his own self. He could see that his life investments did not match his true values.
The change in Frank was dramatic and immediate. He used his considerable intelligence and drive to re-balance his life and relationships. The change in his appearance, level of calm, and sense of humor stunned the class for the next three sessions.
I got a lovely thank you note from Frank months later. He said the simple Blivet Challenge I had designed had changed his life. Somewhere out there is a very grateful wife!
Will you take the Blivet Challenge and share it with your friends and family?
What did you notice? What small change will you make based on what you see? A good goal is one that is “do-able”, big enough to begin to make a difference, and small enough to start this week!