Have you ever found yourself saying something like: “just for a day, or an hour, or 15 minutes I’d like to stop the meetings, appointments, deadlines, community activities, family activities, trips to the gym, running to the grocery store, taking care of children, parents, partners, spouses, pets, the business, employees…and just be?”
I have said this to myself many times over the years. When I hear myself saying it more often, it’s a clue that I need downtime. I need to rest and rejuvenate. I need complete UNtethering from answering emails, phone calls, social media and texts; a time to push “pause” on executing the strategy that fulfills my vision; a time to step out of my leadership roles …… It’s that time when I need to stop thinking so I can start thinking.
Yet the pull of “work” with clients, colleagues, professional organizations, marketing and growing my companies—keeps my mind churning. People are depending upon me. I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening now, what needs to happen next, who I’m seeing tomorrow, what I have to finish, how I can explain a new idea, and, *ding*, I just got a text, and… Sometimes it feels like there’s a hamster running on a wheel inside my head!
“To take time to think is to gain time to live.” -Nancy Kline
Just like you, my life is full and I am on the go. Yet I know that the constant activity of planning, organizing, analyzing and doing, keeps me from being my best.
But when does the hamster wheel STOP? At what point do we need to stop the turning and churning in our minds? Can we stop it?
It IS possible and it IS important that we get away from the pressure of the hamster wheel. How? We can consciously make our own declaration of independence from that which depletes our energy and keeps the wheel spinning! This is not a luxury – this is a necessity! We can get away from this pressure by:
- Dedicating time to turning off our phones and computers;
- Doing something new and different in a new place (the proverbial “bucket list”);
- Changing our routine;
- Sitting still and noticing what surrounds you;
- Having a day or two with no schedule or itinerary . . . .
This is the time of year when I turn off my hamster wheel. I am UNtethering. For the 16th consecutive year, my declaration of independence is taking the whole month of July off for what I call my Extravaganza. My mantra has been and remains: Stop thinking so you can start thinking!! It’s purposeful. It’s mindful. It’s MY TIME to go inward, to realign and renew my energy. My July Extravaganza rejuvenates my Force of Nature!! During the Extravaganza, my brain is prolific – my focus changes and I now have more freedom to create and dream.
And you know what? When I return, I am:
- Healthier and happier;
- Calmer and have more patience;
- More energetic;
- Full of ideas;
- Clear about things that were churning in my head.
It takes less effort to get my work done.
I am more productive.
I am contributing my best.
And all this leads to being a refreshed leader for my team and clients as we effectively execute the strategies that fulfill the visions of our companies.
And I want this for everyone! Even though most do not take a month off, consider this: Most of us are working in the knowledge economy; in that economy, the source of true productivity is a refreshed and energized mind. But here’s the catch: it takes a minimum of two weeks away from the job for that process to occur. We can’t get those recuperative benefits from a long weekend. We must nurture our nature!
My most sincere hope for everyone is that you make the time to take the time to determine what you need to rejuvenate your own force of nature, quieting your hamster wheel, re-aligning yourself and discovering your own declaration of independence Extravaganza!