Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Measuring Tape Mindset

A friend whom I'll call Todd purchased my book a few years ago. Now, every time we see each other, he enthusiastically tells me how he's applying the exercises from the book to his life.

Recently I ran into Todd at our local brewpub, but instead of sharing another story about the exercises I designed, he zealously told me about an exercise he made up on his own. I think it's pretty cool, so I'm sharing it with you.
Since Todd is a semi-retired building contractor, it makes sense that his exercise begins with a measuring tape. Todd said to take a measuring tape and extend it to the number that you believe to be your life expectancy. The number is usually based on your health and family history. It's an educated guess. Then put your finger at your age and notice the difference from the number of years you have lived and the expected remaining years. 

Todd said you can focus on how many inches are already used up compared to the amount yet to go. In doing so, it's easy to become depressed about having so much of our lives lived. Or, take a different perspective. Narrow your focus to the difference between your current age and anticipated life expectancy. Now blow up the image of these years. This is your new focus. This is the time frame from which you have opportunities and possibilities. Don't squander these years. Decide what you want to do with them—then get started.

On my 47th birthday I figured I was halfway through my life, or as Todd would say, "halfway up the measuring tape." Not wanting to mindlessly move through the second half of my life, I wrote down a list of goals. Fast-forward 11 years. The distance on the measuring tape has shortened. And yet, I feel my life has expanded. Not by accident, but by being intentional about what I want in life.

The beginning of 2017 is a perfect time to do the measuring tape exercise. If it helps, literally mark your age and anticipated lifespan on the metal strip. Now what do you want to do with the distance between these two points? What do you really want?

Write your goals on a piece of paper. I prefer this to an electronic version because you can tuck the paper in your wallet or purse, making it easy to view often.

When you're coming up with a list of goals, imagine blowing up the distance between your two points, just as you take two fingers to expand an image on your phone or iPad. Try new ideas, set bigger goals, and commit to being more bold and brave with the distance remaining on your measuring tape.

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved. 


Patty Newbold said...

I love this exercise, Patrice! It's good to focus on how much I can fit into what's left instead of how little is left or what I'm leaving behind when I retire.

Patrice Jenkins said...

Thanks Patty! I also like the idea of expanding what I'm doing--not just doing more but doing better.

When I expand an image on my iPhone, I see the details. When I expand what I'm doing in my life, I become more mindful and in the moment. I bring more of my senses to the experience, for which I gain more satisfaction and happiness.

Patty Newbold said...

What a great way of looking at this, Patrice!