I Ran Out of Gas. Literally. True Story

I ran out of gas today. Like for real. Car on the side of the road, would not move. It wasn’t like I didn’t have any warning. My tank was on empty. I knew this because it clearly said I have _ _ miles to go. That _ _ means 0. I drove with _ _ miles to go, about 5 miles to my house and then 12 more miles to the chiropractor. On the way back home I decided I better take care of that _ _ flashing on my console, or I may ACTUALLY run out of gas. What if _ _ really did mean 0?

I had picked up my car from the mechanic earlier that day, where it had been repaired from a recent fender bender. As my car started to sputter and spit I had some sort of lapse in perception and thought – OMG – the shop messed up my car. Almost immediately (almost) after that, I thought…..”Could I really be running out of gas? How could this happen? It could not have anything to do with the 30 miles I drove on _ _. “

I called my husband. I can only imagine what it is like to be him. I am a special kind of crazy with some sort of mini-crisis happening pretty much all the time. He tells me to pull over. I tell him I can see the gas station. He tells me to pull over while I can so I don’t get stuck in the intersection. I say, I think I can make it. He says don’t do it. I do it anyway.

So we were both right. I did get stuck in the intersection. But….after a few push button starts, I sputtered to the side DIRECTLY in front of the gas station. Not close enough to be able to actually pump gas into my car, but close enough to be ridiculous. Turns out the whole ordeal of using a tank to put a gallon of gas in is WAY more complicated than when I was in high school. I was a PRO at running out of gas then. Now, there are no-spill spouts, and safety valves and a bunch of other features that basically resulted in me spending about 30 minutes to put gas in my car while parked right in front of the gas station – and needing help. Yup, help.

Obviously, it all worked out (or I wouldn’t be typing this BLOG). I have been thinking a lot about ways to improve my overall quality of life from a mental health/self –preservation perspective. I thought to myself after this whole ordeal, “What should I do to prevent MYSELF from running out of gas”? So, I made a list of ten things and committed to doing all ten, every day for the next 30 days. Let’s see how I do. Here they are.

  1. Start my day with 5 minutes of meditation. That is a mere 300 seconds of the 86,400 seconds I have each day. That is .0034722 % of my day. I got this.
  2. Close out all of my programs on my Surface each night (it should help ease the aggravation of why everyone was ignoring me and didn’t reply to my email when I find the minimized email at the bottom of the screen).
  3. Physically shut down my computer each night. Like off. I know it means I have to wait like 30 seconds for it to start up in the morning, but I am tough. I can do this.
  4. Drink a full glass of water as soon as I wake up. It just makes me feel good. Whenever I do that, I feel fresh and tend to drink more water for the remainder of the day. Water is good.
  5. Start my day over when things go off track. Consciously make an effort to stop the avalanche. Here are some ways I will do this:
  • Meditate for 5 minutes
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Do 20 jumping jacks
  • Do 10 pushups
  • Do 25 sit-ups
  • Do 10 burpees
  • Sing really loud to a song I like
  • Send a friend or colleague a thoughtful email/text
  1. Unplug from work at least 2 hours before going to bed. This one is a TALL order for me. Tallest of tall. I vow to do my best. I also vow to not push back my bed time to 2 AM to accommodate this.
  2. Read 30 minutes before bed. From a book. Not on any electronic device. Nothing that needs to be plugged in or charged – yes, I am talking to you Jacqueline. Who me? Yes you.
  3. Plan and accomplish [1] “I wish I had time to_______” thing each week. I made a list over the weekend of people I wished I saw or talked to more often. I made a decision to make at least one visit/call to someone from this list every single week. Not text. Not Facebook message. Actually meet with them in person or speak with them on the telephone.
  4. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day. No. Matter. What. I typically do this anyway, but lately, work is very busy, I still have an excessive amount of medical appointments and things get harder to juggle. I need the Adrenalin, release and sense of accomplishment. It is also one of the few ways I consistently practice self-care.
  5. End my day with 5 minutes of meditation. That is a mere .0034722 % of the 1,440 minutes I have in a day. You are impressed by Math huh?

So many entrepreneurs I know put their companies ahead of everything else in their lives. Their single-minded devotion to success leads them to sacrifice friendships, time with family, health and even their sanity. It’s like driving a car that’s running out of gas. If you don’t put something back in the tank, by reinvesting in yourself, you’ll never get to your destination. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Take 5 minutes a day. Do something non-work related. Your business will be better off with a leader that’s refreshed. And it’s better than ending up on the side of the road.

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