Picking Ourselves Back Up

A conversation with Robert Glazer, author of ‘Elevate’
June 24, 2020 Updated: June 24, 2020

As the world continues to open back up from varying states of lockdown, we face the prospect of getting back to normal, resuming our lives, and moving on from a period of time we won’t soon forget.

These months have, of course, been experienced differently by different people. However, many of us have, at times, found ourselves feeling rather introspective—reviewing our lives and the way of life we wish to return to.

I recently read Robert Glazer’s book, “Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others.” An easily digestible and inspiring read, I found it set just the right tone for a time like this. The book provides a succinct framework to look at the key areas of your life—spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional—and expand your capacity, as Glazer puts it, in each category.

robert glazer
Robert Glazer. (Courtesy of Robert Glazer)

I asked Glazer for his advice as we emerge from lockdowns. 

The Epoch Times: Canceled plans and lots of time at home have allowed people to reflect upon different aspects of their lives. Many people have been rethinking their careers, where they choose to live, how they choose to live, and more. What advice would you give someone who aims to make a big life change?

Robert Glazer: Our most important decisions are driven by our core values—the non-negotiable principles that are most important to us. Consciously or unconsciously, our core values affect our choices in all these factors—where we live, our vocation, who we share our lives with, and more.

The most important advice I would give somebody looking to make a significant life change is to first spend some time reflecting on what’s most important to them, and start considering what their core values are. Start by asking: what job would you do for free? What was a personal or professional environment that you found especially motivating, or draining? What sorts of qualities in other people exhaust you most?

By carefully answering these questions and writing down your responses, you’ll see plenty of overlapping themes in your answers: these will be the characteristics and traits that inform your core values. Once you start understanding your core values, you can make big life decisions with clarity and confidence. I’m actually developing a full-length course that walks through a core value exercise in detail—that will be coming in the next month or so.

The Epoch Times: Your book, “Elevate,” focuses on four spectrums of life: spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional. How can someone use this framework to get their lives on track as lockdowns ease?

Mr. Glazer: The central premise of “Elevate” is that most high-achieving people I’ve met and researched have built their capacity in those four areas: spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional capacity. It’s important to understand the four capacities so that you can focus on each one intentionally and consistently.

For spiritual capacity, this pertains to understanding who you are at your core—your core values, as discussed above, and your purpose. A lot of people will be effectively pressing reset on their lives and careers after lockdowns ease, so it’s important to extensively reflect on what you really want most, and how you can pursue that when the world opens up again.

Intellectual capacity is how you think, learn, plan, and execute. This is essential because, during change and upheaval, the people who excel are constantly learning and adapting. I would encourage people to ask themselves—what skills or knowledge do you need to acquire today to get on track?  What productive habits do you want to install into your life to improve your performance?

Physical capacity relates to your health, well-being, and energy; we need it now more than ever. In stressful situations, such as a pandemic, it can be easy to fall out of an exercise routine, stress-eat, or disregard the importance of sleep. To guard against this type of slippage, be proactive with your time; schedule exercise into your day, give yourself time to recover at the end of a long day, and even put away your phone and computer an hour before bed to help you wind down and sleep better.

Emotional capacity encapsulates how you respond to challenging situations, your emotional mindset, and the quality of your relationships. In challenging times, that last one is most crucial: many people have had more time to invest in their relationships during the lockdown. For example, in my own family, we’ve had dinner as a family for over 60 nights in a row at this point, simply because none of us can travel or socialize, and it’s brought us closer together. 

When lockdowns start to lift and life returns to normal, I’d encourage you to make those strengthened relationships a part of your new normal. Make a list of the people in your life you want to continue prioritizing and giving your time and energy to, and commit to keeping those bonds strong. At the same time, think about the draining relationships you need to start walking away from. As the saying goes, we’re the average of the people we spend the most time with, and if we prioritize our most important, positive relationships, we’ll grow in the process.

The Epoch Times: What challenges do you expect people will commonly face as they get back into the swing of things?

Mr. Glazer: People are going to be resetting their lives, their routines, their working conditions, and even their social habits. It was challenging for people to completely press pause on their daily lives and stay home, and I think it will be similarly challenging at first for people to go back to the new normal. 

That commute is going to feel long at first, and it will be an adjustment to be in an office, to be expected to travel for work again or to be surrounded by people all day. While some people will be rejuvenated by these shifts, even those who are happy to be back to normal will struggle at times to manage their energy, time, and commitments.

Capacity-building helps here by giving a framework to design life as you want it when the world returns to normal. You don’t just have to fall into your old routines, or struggle to rev back up to pre-lockdown levels of activity. Instead, you can prioritize your time and energy toward the activities that fulfill you and the people who matter most to you. You can set actionable goals for yourself and build habits that help you achieve what you want, rather than trying to figure things out as you go. And you can practice prioritizing your health and energy as well.

The Epoch Times: What opportunities might people look for post-lockdown?

Mr. Glazer: I think there’s going to be some major professional changes as people reevaluate what kind of personal and professional life they want to have. There will be people who were considering changing jobs at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis who will finally have the chance to do that. There will be people who realized during lockdown that they’ve been spending their career doing something they don’t like, or working somewhere that doesn’t align with their values, and will be looking to move. Organizations that are committed to helping people find personal and professional fulfillment stand to gain in this type of environment.

Similarly, I think people will have a new appreciation for how short life can feel, and will be wanting to pursue personal and professional goals with new urgency and intention. In short, they’ll be looking to build their capacity: to try new things that push them out of their comfort zone, to learn new skills and explore new career opportunities, and to prioritize their physical and mental health. I think they will also shift the focus from being busy to being fulfilled. 

The Epoch Times: Your book encourages leadership. How would you recommend someone help and inspire family, friends, and colleagues around him or her during this unique transition process? 

Mr. Glazer: Leading by example and sharing positivity with others is an important piece—it’s useful to share the changes you’re making with others and inspire them to rethink their own goals and priorities. Also, when people come to you asking for how they can improve, don’t just tell them what they want to hear. Instead, respectfully challenge them to consider where they can grow, and offer to help them make those changes. Be an accountability partner, or, if the relationship is appropriate, a mentor.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @barbaradanza