I had been very busy, running my business and focusing on delivering value for my clients. It had been a particularly tricky time for my family, as my daughters had both transitioned into the next phase at school. I knew I needed to take a break to unwind, re-energise, and reconnect with myself and my ‘why’. I decided to take an extra day out while I was on a trip to North Wales. There is something about the air, the sea and the sea air which I love and which brings an inner peace.
Before I went on my trip though, I felt really guilty about taking time out, and on the surface it looked like I couldn’t afford to take the time, as I was so busy working in my business and delivering great programmes and projects for my clients, plus my younger daughter had been quite ill and had ended up in hospital for a couple of days, so taking even more time out seemed like a luxury I couldn’t afford. My inner wisdom, however, knew that if I was going to be able to continue to stay ahead, build my business to the next level, and achieve my purpose, I would need to challenge my conventional thinking, step up and expand my comfort zone and disrupt the status quo, and maybe change a few things in order to operate at a new level. In other words, I needed an upgrade! New, higher performing batteries!
On the surface, there was no evidence that I needed to change anything, as nothing was ‘broken’ that needed ‘fixing’; however, I knew that it was a good idea, and all I needed to do was to trust myself and not over think my way out of it (which I can often do!). Anyway, my thinking went like this – in the worst case scenario, I would simply take the time out and catch up on some sleep and feel better afterwards. That alone wouldn’t be a bad outcome. In the best case scenario, I would re-energise, see some amazing countryside, reconnect with my ‘why’, and get a few pointers to help me move forward with more purpose.
The scary thing was that I didn’t really know what I needed to do to achieve the best case scenario, but I decided to take a drop of my own medicine and give myself something to do for the two days that I often give to my clients to do as an exercise, and that was to ask myself to complete the following: “I’d love it if…”. The key, when given this task, is to not over think it, to let go of it, to simply have it in your mind, and to trust that something will come, as and when you are ready.
The outcome was that I had a fabulous time, appreciating the dramatic scenery of North Wales, discovering a great walk that took me up a large and very steep hill, and which, once I got to the top, gave me an amazing view of the coastline and the surrounding countryside for miles around. The thing I realised was that if I had stayed at the bottom of the hill, there was no way I would have been able to appreciate the view and there was no way I would have been able to see all the amazing things I was able to see from the top, so it really was worth the effort to make the steep climb, even when it got a bit slippery in the mud.
Upon reflection afterwards, I realised that the hill was a metaphor for my trip. How often am I so deep in the detail (the content), and running fast, that I have no time to look up and see where I am going, to acknowledge my achievements so far, and appreciate the journey and the amazing surroundings that I live in? As Stephen Covey would say, how often are we “too busy sawing” with no time to “sharpen the saw”?
To be honest, I enjoyed my time so much that I had forgotten about the task I had set myself before my journey! Anyway, what transpired was that on my first night home from my trip, I woke up at 3am, my mind buzzing so much that I had to write my thoughts down before I went back to sleep, and all my answers to “I’d love it if…” came flooding out. In fact, what happened is that it took me back to my ‘why’, which is about making a difference (I’ll share this another time!), and it gave me a deeper connection to this ‘why’ at a whole new level. I also had some ideas for how to get started with the next part of my journey.
So what is the learning to share?
How often do we take time out to reconnect with ourselves? It’s not a luxury, it’s essential! If we are going to achieve our vision and purpose (our ‘why’), by not doing it, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and, more importantly, our clients and customers. Without giving ourselves the time out to reflect, review, and take some perspective (see the view), how are we really going to be able to check where we are and see what else we need to do to take the next, possibly bigger step? We will become average people, doing average things. By taking time out, we are able to look from outside in, at ourselves, expand out boundaries and question the status quo and are able to see things differently from a higher place, enabling us to readjust, recalibrate, and find ways to move forward, that will take us ever closer to our goal.