I hope everyone is moving into the home stretch of 2013 with energy and passion for what they are doing. I also hope you are starting to review and plan for an even better 2014. One of the keys that I believe you have to do to be successful is have a plan, measure yourself on how you are doing in your execution, then build a new/better plan. We are about to gear up for our annual vendor and partner planning days the first of October and I can’t wait to talk about how we will serve our clients, employees and partners in 2014. Those 2 days set the tone and direction for our following year and we include our key vendors and partners so we can amplify the brain power in setting our plans. We are very fortunate to have some very smart people willing to invest in this effort with us.
I recently was able to take a vacation (really a staycation) to recharge my batteries for the end of the year run and first of the year push. I haven’t been very good about stepping away as much as I should over the past year. I have allowed myself to use the excuses ‘with as much as I travel for work those trips serve as my vacation’. But they really don’t. The biggest reason they haven’t worked for me as vacation is because I haven’t allowed myself time to just be. By that I mean taking time to think about things both personally and professionally. Too many times I am busy on those trips presenting or learning from others. I am so busy actively engaging that I fail to internalize the information I get. I promise myself I will take all of my notes and review them and boil them down to the key items on the plane or when I get back but seldom do I take that time. And even less do I take that real step of thinking about how to leverage the information into something meaningful.
So I finally took a week off and decided to use that time not to travel but to just “be” for a few days (My wife said it was OK). I didn’t stack a bunch of books up to read nor did I bring a bunch of notes from events to review or have a list of “things I really should do around here” I just took time to allow what I already have rattling around in my head to bubble up and reflect on it all. I also actively tried to avoid the call of my email and cell phone. I was amazed by all of the ideas/issues I have been pushing off dealing with that came up. Taking this time to reflect on things and take down notes was a major weight off my shoulders. I hadn’t realized how much I had been putting off/pushing down. Much of what came up were issues around personal shortcomings related to how I lead both at home and at work. When you are busy doing sometimes you forget about important responsibilities you have to others. Other items were about the future and questions of how we will move to take advantage of or avoid issues that will come from all of the changes that are always happening. As many of you know I believe in the “change is inevitable” mantra.
So what does actively just “being” look like? For me it was getting up in the morning when my internal clock said too, taking my time to go through a morning routine without the push of having to be someplace, and then finding a spot away from things and just listening. I am not one to say you have to meditate but I would say it was very much like that. I allowed the sound of the air conditioning or maybe the wind, birds and bugs to fill my head for a little while. It was in this space that I would hear what has been weighing on me. I would take that one issue and really think about it and think it through. Come up with how I thought I should move forward on it and then make a note of it. Then I would forget it because I knew I would be able to take action starting the next week.
So when was the last time you stopped and reflected? It may seem a little counterproductive to stop working to reflect in the always on and always on the go culture we live in but I would challenge you to take a few minutes even if you can’t do it for a few hours or days. In the end being able to know what is really important to you will make you better able to focus on those things and achieve more than before. It may even make you more fun to be around if you aren’t always so busy trying to keep it all in your head.
As always reach out to me with your thoughts and ideas. I am just one man with a bully pulpit and learn as much from you and your words as I ever return from it.