Don’t Forget to Breathe

You always have time.

When you watch an action movie, the hero always does one thing before going into that room filled with bad guys.

We see it help with their success, yet it is so easy to neglect. 

What is it?


Whenever something bad happens to someone I know, the first thing I do is tell them to breathe.

There are always questions, depending on the level of anger. All of the questions they ask eventually lead to “What does breathing do for the situation?”

Breathing doesn’t do anything “tactical.” It, alone, won’t save your life.

Breathing won’t:

  • Put money in your bank account.
  • Get your significant other to call you back.
  • Stop your boss from firing you.

It’s about your strategy moving forward. Strategy informs tactics, tactics inform emotion.  Breathing gives you the opportunity to improve the strategic mindset by doing several things all with one action.

Breathing helps:

  • Slow down the situation.
  • Take control from the reptilian brain (fight or flight).
  • Increase empathy for the other side.

By breathing, our hero makes the right call. Help yourself make the right call by taking a second to breathe.

Planning and Purpose

[bctt tweet=”Each appointment set on a contract represents a contract with yourself. “]


There are two parts to a successful calendar.

  • Planning – A calendar works when the when is correct. Each appointment set represents a contract with yourself.  It is easy to forgive one two or even ten mistakes, but each one represents an eroding of trust in the system. Eventually, this leads to the calendar just becoming noise, something our brains are good at filtering.  Some suggestions to help with planning.
    • Add buffer time – I live in New York City, and it pays not rush anywhere and with that said, people are often late. I am often late, and I build a form of ethics around it. One way to help stave off the tardiness is buffer time.  If you end up at your destination early, you look good. If you plan for it, you won’t stat panicking next time you hear “All train traffic is stopped due to a sick passenger” (or traffic accident, construction, or someone losing it because the Mets blew it).
    • Alarms – Don’t take the defaults. Use the alarms like football teams use the clock. Give yourself a two-minute warning, make it loud when you absolutely have to go, send an email at the beginning of the day. You get unlimited tries on this, so experiment until your heart’s content.
    • Accountability – Research your wins and losses here and adjust. Don’t beat yourself up, but also don’t let yourself off the hook.  Each time you are late, write a handwritten letter to the person. You don’t have to send it, but you will hate writing it, and you won’t forget.
  • Purpose – Each and everything has a purpose. connect yourself with it. What are the targets you want to hit going forward, how does this next thing move the needle? If you can’t think of it, it gets harder to deal with and your bed is going to look and feel a lot more comfortable
    • Write it out – Write out some of the why’s in your life. Put it in a place you will see often. Use your phone’s front screen, the background of your PC, or a white board. Take a few minutes to look at it and think about what you are doing and why its important to that.
    • Accountability – Talk about them to other people. Make sure people know what you are looking to do. Your mind is constantly playing tricks on you – but, someone else mind has no reason to do the same with your ideas.

No plan survives contact with the enemy, however, it serves as a great tripwire and a way to propel you through the day. Planning and purpose give you the chance to see and be honest on where you are in life, and what you want to do.