I think everyone should have a sanctuary. It might be a special corner of your garden, a special chair in a quiet corner, or a home office. My sanctuary is a bathroom. It has more art on the walls than did my entire first home. It’s decorated lovingly with my favorite colors and fabrics. There are gold butterflies on the ceiling and candles everywhere. A custom-ordered tub has lots of jets, providing me with wonderful back and foot massages. Perhaps the best design feature of my special sanctuary is a lock on the door that ensures my privacy. Almost every day, I soak in a bubble bath in my tub and enjoy solitary thinking time with a fragrant bath bomb.

If you think this sounds selfish, you’re missing the point. This 10 or 15 minutes to myself is an investment that pays off handsomely. I tell my family that it’s my time-out, and they’re happy to respect that. I’m a better parent, a more thoughtful manager, and a more effective leader as a result of time in my sanctuary. I have instincts that I trust implicitly. They tell me to take a little time away now and then, and I listen.

One of things that I contemplate in my sanctuary is balance and what it means to me. A balanced lifestyle means different things to different people. We all need to devise our own definition of balance: that point where we’re comfortable and productive. A few minutes spent in your personal sanctuary will remind you that 10 years from now, you’ll remember your child’s school play more than those extra hours spent straining away at your desk, probably slouched in all the wrong postures, plagued with guilt because you are missing an important time in one of your children’s lives. One of the points in my new book is to remember that sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. A few minutes in your sanctuary is the right time to realize that it’s important to remain flexible. Things will always come up, and if you have to shift a few things, do it, and let go. It can really take the wind out of your sail if you have an overloaded to-do list and you don’t accomplish a bunch of things on that list. It’s much more rewarding and effective to focus on the important priorities than to be worrying about an unrealistic, long list that drains your energy and brings you down.

My sanctuary is a place that helps to keep me balanced, to remind me of the importance of my personal life. Work is important, but it’s not everything. Some things have to give, or you risk some very precious commodities, and we all know that you can’t turn the clock back. There’s no place like a personal sanctuary to remember that.

I can’t count how many times people ask how I’ve been able to continually overcome adversity. I was called a “survivor” long before the hit TV show was ever invented. In fact, my winning formula is very simple: whatever the situation (and you must stay focused on the situation, not the players)—whether I’m dealing with the death of someone I love, considering a strategic alliance or public offering for my company, or making an important decision about my family or my lifestyle—I always follow my three easy steps.

* Make a realistic plan that will get you closer to your dream.
* Follow your God-given instincts.
* Find the seed for good.

These strategies have never failed me. In the good times and the bad I keep following these steps religiously. This is my game plan for overcoming obstacles, doing good in the world, and leading a happy, fulfilling life. I know that these steps can work for you, too. Let me take you by the hand—and remember, I’ve been there.

Some people may look at me and think, “It was easy for her; she married the successful CEO of a large company.” But that’s the fairy tale, not the real story. These people didn’t see me having my heart torn out repeatedly looking after a chronically ill spouse. They didn’t see me striding the halls of the Stanford Medical Center, my baby in a backpack, pacing as my husband rebounded from a risky and miraculous transplant. They didn’t see us when I was about to hock my precious wedding ring, when we were fighting to save the company and its special people. And they didn’t see me put my fist through a bathroom wall after my husband drew his last breath. No, it hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t been simple for me. But believe me, if I can do it, you can, too.

I have been fortunate in my life to be able to cut through the public’s image of me as just a “paper doll,” a piece of fluff, a headliner, and get to the core of my being, where the seeds are contained—seeds for good—where there is a person who is multidimensional and a person who is fully exposed on life’s journey based in the undying wisdom of life eternal and believing in miracles.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

LuAn Mitchell-Halter knows business. With long experience as one of the most accomplished women in the world, she has an intimate understanding of today’s competitiveness and global pressure. As a highly sought after motivational speaker, with extensive training from the “masters,” she is known as an international best-selling author and a first-class personality, and her inspiring message of perseverance and triumph is known around the planet. LuAn works hard with like-minded individuals to plant “seeds of good” around our beautiful world. She has helped others reach their true potential, and she can help you!