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The Sykes Group
2476-115 Nimmo Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Tel: 757-427-7032
Fax: 757-427-0929



Words to Live By – Six Ways to Breathe Life into Your Day

By Joy Fisher-Sykes

We’ve heard the instructions many times over.  There is such familiarity that many people can almost recite them verbatim.  In fact, these directives are so crucial; they are printed on placards and demonstrated visually by the staff.  They are so important that they can’t wait until you are airborne to share.  I’m talking about the life-saving instructions on what to do in case of an emergency that airline passengers receive on every flight before they’re airborne.  Given without fail around the globe daily, millions often sit back and ignore flight attendants by reading a magazine, speaking to a neighbor, or simply becoming annoyed at the disruption of quiet.  The highlight of the instruction says:

Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling in front of you.  If you are traveling with small children, place the mask on yourself first, then place a mask on the child. 

Who would have thought for decades the airline industry has been sharing with millions of people a valuable life lesson.

A Life Lesson

At first blush, this directive seems absurd.   After all, when you travel with a child, an adult’s natural inclination says children first. Period. No matter the circumstance.  However, consider that our emotional side is not always logical.  Ponder the life lesson to be learned here.  If you do not put your mask on yourself first, if you’re not breathing, how in the world can you ever help that child, yourself, or anyone else?


Learn to Breathe

Many of us choose to give our oxygen away all the time.  How many times have you felt the  “pressure” and a sense of not being able to cope, not able to breathe?  Did you take a deep breath or did you just trudge along depleting your reserves to none?  A life on empty has nothing to offer to either you or others.  When we fail to see the value of taking care of self before others, we fail to see we can be of no good to anyone unless we choose to take the first breath.  Sound selfish?  Perhaps, however, it is the only way you can survive.  Remember, lack of oxygen causes death – to the mind, the body, and the spirit.


Six Ways to Honor Yourself Daily

What holds true for life in the air holds true for the life we lead on the ground.   On a daily basis practice these life-saving strategies to breathe life into your day.


  1. Value Time

Time is your most precious commodity that can never be replaced or replenished.  Be selective about how and with whom you choose to spend your time.  Make every minute count because each is precious.

  1. Cut the Umbilical Cord

Lighten your load and learn to let go.  Stop dragging around the troubles of everyone in the world.  Constantly trying to solve problems for others not only weighs you down, it denies others the opportunity to learn that they can survive and thrive. Experience breeds personal growth and power.  Allow those you love the opportunity to grow.  Know that sometimes the best gifts you can offer are your constant love and support and allowing others to resolve their own problems.

  1. Maintain Strong Bonds

The real value in relationships is maintaining a connection.  Whether you are near or far, don’t allow the busyness of life to let time slip away.  Make a conscious effort to connect with friends and family on a regular basis.

  1. Choose Your Friends Wisely

You become the people with which you choose to surround yourself. Be very selective with whom you choose to spend your time. Time is a precious commodity you can never get back.  Once time is gone, it’s lost forever.  Refuse to spend time with others who choose not to honor you.

  1. Be Courageous

Have the courage to step up and say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.  Possess the courage to practice what you know to be true.  Question not whether everyone likes you all of the time (because they never will).  Instead, ask, “Does it really matter if those who choose to disrespect and dishonor me don’t like me?”

  1. Celebrate

Celebrate every breath you take and every memory you create.  Life is a meant to be a daily celebration.  Celebrate all of life’s victories – large and small.  Don’t let the calendar dictate special occasions.  Every day use the fine china, crystal, and silverware.  Celebrate today because life is so precious, and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.  Take nothing for granted and celebrate all life has to offer.

Follow these simple life strategies and you’ll find you can breathe a whole lot easier.  This valuable life lesson – take a breath - is not to be taken lightly.  Ignore it and you’ll find yourself depleted of oxygen, weary and worn.  Practice it and you’ll breathe new life into your day and have an appreciation for life that all can follow.  Now those truly are words to live by.


Suggested reading:


Take Time to Create a Life Balance Sheet for Success

It’s the Most Wonderful Gift of the Year

Five Ways to Reduce Environmental Stress (Part Two)

Set Yourself Stress-Free 

Set Yourself Free

Five Ways to Reduce Environmental Stress (Part One)

Adversity: Your Seed of Greatness (Three Secrets to Using Adversity to Become Great)

Connect the Dots! Your Roadmap for Success

Every Super Hero Needs Theme Music. What’s Yours?

Have You Appreciated Someone Today?

Five Secrets to Creating a "Goal" Medal Life 

Five Secrets to Creating a "Goal" Medal Life - Part 2

Appreciate to Motivate (The Key to Successful Team Building)

The Greatest Gift of All - The Gift of Empowerment


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Want to learn how get the most out of life?  Go to our Articles page for additional information on life, empowerment, business, career, and customer serviceGo to our Workshop page to learn how our programs can help you accomplish more in life. 

Joy Fisher-Sykes is a professional speaker published in the areas of communication, time  management, and teamwork. She works with business and government organizations who want to reach the next level of success and individuals who want to perform at their best. You can email her at, call him at (757) 427-7032 or visit his Web site at

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