By Ellen Borowka, Nancy Croix & Steven Zuback

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]A[/dropcaps]ppreciating life and those around us can be difficult. We get focused on the challenges of the day and the days just fly by! Before we know it, a year has passed and then another and another! A while ago, a friend passed away in a plane crash. She was a great sailing buddy and someone that was so sailboatsfull of life. Our friend used to call whenever she was in the area to see if we were available to have lunch or dinner with her. At those times, we would think in the moment that we had so much to do, that to take time away to spend time with our friend would be difficult. Usually, we would find ways to make the time and now we are glad we did. It can be hard to stay focused on the moment and not get distracted by the future or the past. To truly appreciate the people and what we have around us, rather than just plodding through each day. Yet, how do we do that? How do we stay focused on what is really important in life and not get sucked into the little details of the day?

  1. Make priorities and look at where your time is spent. What is truly important to you? Look around and think deeply about what and who really matters to you? Break that down to categories, like spouse or significant other, family, passions or hobbies, and so on. Then look at how you break up your day and give each responsibility or task a percentage of your time. Then look at both lists – does the time spent match up to what you hold as highest priorities? If not, then you may have to findman with piechart ways to make changes to rearrange your time or your life. Another friend of ours has a very busy travel and work schedule, but he makes his family a priority. As such, he makes sure to rearrange or schedule his travel around coaching his children’s soccer games. Is it easy? No, but that is what is really important to him. When making these changes, be sure to be specific on what you plan to change.
  2. Find ways to manage the little things. Sometimes when we need to focus on the important things in life, we need to also take care of the little pesky things. It’s rather like being on a wonderful cruise, but you get distracted from the great views by annoying little bugs! Look back at how your time is spent and think about what you do well that plays to your strengths and what doesn’t. Whereas, we may excel in certain areas, we may struggle with other areas. That can eat up time and cause us to feel frustrated. So, find ways to manage those areas. For example, if you are not good at organization then find systems and/or people that can assist you in that area. Ask for feedback on how to leverage your time, so you don’t get bogged down by things that do not relate to your strengths.
  3. Discover avenues to appreciating life. Using your priority list as a guideline, fit the important things into your daily life. For example, if you love doing things that are creative, then look for ways to express that like setting time aside to do craft projects or gardening. Sometimes, the important things or people in our lives get pushed down on the priority list, but we need to find ways to fit those things in that bring us passion and energy.
  4. Expand your horizon. Along the same line, look for ways to expand your vision. Is there something you always wanted to do, but put off – maybe because you thought you might fail? Perhaps it is time to find a way to do it. You might have to get support or information from others to do what you dream of. I have some friends devote their time regularly to a hunger project and travel to places to help people in poverty to enhance their lives. It is quite inspiring to talk with them about what they do, where they go and who they meet!
  5. Showing your appreciation for others. The simplest things can make us feel really good inside. So, how can we show our appreciation for others and help them to feel good inside? Some ideas could be: holding the door open for another; letting someone into your lane while driving; offering assistance to a co-worker that is overwhelmed with their people with flowerworkload; or baking or making a dish for a neighbor or friend that might need some extra support or just because you are thinking of them. Even complimenting a person on their outfit can make them feel really good inside. If someone is having a bad day, the smallest positive comment can be hugely appreciative. Most of the time, we don’t even realize how much we’ve touched someone when we have helped them or showed some compassion.

Appreciation does not always come easily. It comes from making the choice to appreciate life, others, and ourselves. Just as the old saying goes of the glass being half empty or being half full, so too is the perspective on appreciation. Many times, we need to make a conscious decision to see the positive, to see the opportunity or the good around us. It’s not always the easy decision to make, especially when the circumstances or the people around us are difficult. Yet, from appreciation we find the good in life and without that life can look pretty bleak and hopeless. Where we come from and where we are going springs forth from our perspective on life. So, it becomes very important to look around you and take the time to appreciate the opportunities and challenges that life presents.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Steve is President of zubackcrc an international executive and business coaching practice that provides executive and business coaching to CEOs, Presidents, entrepreneurs, business owners, senior executives and executive leadership teams on leadership, executive development, executive effectiveness and succession/career management. Steve effectively coaches CEOs and COOs, CFOs, senior executives, including sales and marketing executives, engineers, legal counsel, and teams on, growth and executive development challenges, role effectiveness, executive development, business/strategic plan development, leadership, succession, M&A, and organizational alignment. Steve’s progressive and diverse experience includes work with companies on cultural integration, corporate re-structuring, leadership and executive development, intra-preneurship, entrepreneurship, organizational development, employee and management development, executive coaching, executive selection and placement, as well as labor-management relations. For more information, you can contact Steve at 661•253•0286 or by email,

Nancy Croix, Senior Operations Administrator and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (LCS) with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS also has a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. LCS consultants have over 25 plus years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. Ellen is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.