My boss is always using the term “constant vigilance” to remind us to keep our eyes out for issues that would cause us to get a tag in a state survey. Once a year, the nursing home must undergo a state survey, where a team of surveyors come into the facility and check on all our systems. It is a stressful time, but if we always do our jobs in accordance with the rules, then we know there will be no worries when survey comes. Constant vigilance is needed year round to ensure that the needs of our residents are being met and that we are operating under proper procedure. It is also needed in our personal lives to ensure that we are making choices in accordance with our values and what we want for our future.
The words constant vigilance popped into my head today to remind me that I need to keep an awareness of my goals and aspirations; that I must not allow myself to fall prey to insecurities, negative self-talk, and low energy periods of time. I frequently struggle with maintaining a level of high quality energy in my life. My days are seemingly at the mercy of my physical and emotional energies which wax and wane from moment to moment. If I am not careful, I will fall prey to the negative thinking that comes in those times of low energy.
Years ago, I did not understand why I was unable to accomplish my dreams. I only knew that I no longer had the energy to drive me through to completion. I would then berate myself for not getting things done. I would describe myself with words like lazy, unfocused, and unable. I would compare myself to others who seemed to easily make forward strides in their lives. They could do things like that, but I could not. I just wasn’t capable. It is what I believed about myself and each time I failed to complete something, I proved myself right.
I now see that thinking as just an illusion, that things are not as black and white as I made them out to be. Today is only a moment in time does not need to define my future moments. I accept that my energy will vary, and know that because I don’t have energy today, doesn’t mean that I won’t tomorrow. Not having the energy to do something for one day is not an excuse to stop working on a project altogether. Constant vigilance is needed to keep these things in mind, to overcome the negative pattern that developed over the years. I carefully watch for the signs, for those words and phrases that lower my energy and stop me in my tracks. I remind myself that one bad day does not signal the end of the project, that I can begin again and succeed.
In the book, The Right Questions, Ten Essential Questions to Guide You to an Extraordinary Life, Debbie Ford describes the way many of us live life on “auto pilot”. We do the same things, the same way, and expect different results, only to become discouraged and fall back into the old patterns. We make choices without considering the effect they will have on our long-term visions. I refer to these questions regularly as they help me keep things in perspective and remind me that what I choose now, including my thoughts, can bring me the future of my dreams. The questions are as follows:
- Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?
- Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification?
- Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?
- Am I looking for what’s right or am I looking for what’s wrong?
- Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of my energy? (This is one of my favorites)
- Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it to beat myself up?
- Does this choice empower me or does it disempower me?
- Is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage?
- Is this an act of faith or is it an act of fear?
- Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?
Debbie goes on to say, “Every time we make a choice that is inconsistent with our heart’s desires, we are not only moving away from what we say we want in life but actually dampening our life force – that unique inner power that keeps us alive spiritually and physically.”
Yesterday, I had an experience where I felt my energy drain as thoughts of negative outcomes about a project entered my mind. The words “constant vigilance” brought me back to reality. I reminded myself that it was only a moment in time, not forever. My energy returned.
What thoughts are you thinking? What choices do you make? Notice if they raise or lower your levels of energy. Being in a state of constant vigilance will increase your self-awareness. Is your auto pilot carrying you away from your dreams? Look to your goals and visions to drive you into the future you want for yourself. Do not let your guard down. There is too much at stake.
Yours in transformation,