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Back to the grindstone - maintaining your Mental Wealth in 2011

07 March 2011

Do you love the work that you do each day? Or is it a real challenge getting out of bed to face the same old same old? Traffic on the roads, the number of people on buses and trains all indicate that most of us are back at work now. For some it is a labour of love, or just loving what they do, for others it really is pure grind, one leaden foot in front of the other. What makes the difference?

My work experience ranges from cleaning motels and psychiatric hospital wards, making paint brushes in a factory through to managing director of a specialist Employer association and most recently running my own legal practice. Each of these roles had and has its own challenges and benefits. What excites and motivates one person can be torture to another. A focus on what your ultimate goal is however, can make an enormous difference to how you feel about any job - be it a personal or public task.

When I decided to set up my own legal practice my priority was to change the balance between work and the other issues of importance in my life. And I have - in the most amazingly positive ways. I exercise regularly, I have cut my alcohol consumption to around ten percent of previous levels and with the assistance of the 'Fat Controller' I have lost around 15 kilos in weight with a continuing downward trend. My business and social outcomes have of course improved significantly. And my focus throughout was my 'Mental Wealth'.

Mental wealth involves recognizing that if each of us does not take care of our own needs, we are not able to assist others who need our help. Often I feel torn about whether I should deal with my own issues or those of someone else first. Then I remember the safety message that we hear each time we fly. That is, 'in the event of an emergency put your own oxygen mask first and then help others with theirs'. The analogy applies in every situation in your life - you can only really look after others if you look after yourself first. Remember, if you keep the end in mind - that is keep the thought 'What is my ultimate goal' - what might at first seem like torture can become simply part of what needs to be done to get to that goal.

So - keep your goal in mind, look after yourself first and treasure your mental wealth, treat it like the gold that it is. And approach 2011 with the excitement and focus that a new year and a new challenge deserves.