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Wakeup Calls

At age 44, I found myself at a sleep study clinic so that my doctor could tell me what medical mystery was keeping me from sleeping and experiencing memory loss. For months I had been sleep-deprived, feeling so tired that I was dozing during my commute. It’s a startling feeling when my heavy eyelids closed for a brief second and my head jerked back. As I lay in a hospital bed with cold wires attached to my face all I could think about was everything I needed to get done the next day like getting the kids ready for school and attending my client’s trade show.

I am Ivette Flower, a recovering perfectionist, a lifelong high achiever, a corporate veteran, Puerto Rican busy mother of 3 teens and the High Achievers Coach.  I believe personal growth starts at home and overflows into a successful career. I wanted to be intentional about my career goals and parenting so I sought out the wisdom of 3 professional coaches. With their feedback, I implemented and taught the parenting tools from Love and Logic and I became a Certified Leadership.

Hearing my doctor tell me in 2016 that “You’re perfectly healthy other than being an overwhelmed, overachieving working mother” was my wake up call. He pointed to my phone and said, “This is demanding your attention and it’s part of the reason you can’t sleep.” It struck me that my phone symbolized everyone and everything that consumed my attention.

With that diagnosis, I made my well-being a top priority. Working with a nutritionist (who was also a life coach) taught me that being a high achiever was never the issue; rather how I was achieving my goals was! How I did one thing is how I did everything. Rushing from one thing to the next, prioritizing everyone, and skipping meals. Do you know anyone “crazy” like that?

Working with a coach revealed so much about my values and how I was not being intentional about prioritizing them. Progress, not perfection, became my daily mantra. To BE someone who values her health, I need to DO a daily routine that includes drinking water, eating whole foods, meditating, and exercising in order to HAVE energy.  My new fashion accessory is a 32 oz teal green water bottle.  I wake up in the morning and say a prayer of gratitude before I exercise or stretch. I block time for self-care and personal growth. My day almost never goes perfectly as planned but that is why progress, not perfection is still my mantra.

You may already know that life doesn’t get easier; you just get better at it. I got better at being intentional with my time and let go of perfectionism. As a top sales executive earning a 6-figure income while working part-time, I learned how to increase productivity at work and make time for what matters most.

You don’t have to wait for your wake up call. The next time you find yourself overwhelmed try one of these exercises:

  • New Identity Worksheet – Who or what do you need to BE in order to DO what you need to do so you can HAVE the outcome you want?
  • Healthy Habit Tracker. When starting a new habit clarify the anticipated benefit and what you will be giving up to achieve this goal so you increase the chance it will stick long term.

If all else fails, organize your pantry. It always works for me!