Last week, I traveled with my family to Aruba for a little R&R. With an 8 & 10 year old in tow, my husband & I prepared ourselves for a week of pool slides, ocean wave surfing, shell collecting, and lots of sleep. All of which Aruba delivered in spades.
However, I took an R&R detour … I worked quite a bit. In fairness, working poolside in a wide brimmed hat slathered in SPF 50 is not a bad gig; however, work is work.
We all know that unplugging from time to time creates the opportunity for much needed restoration and rejuvenation. Our performance is dependent on our ability to self-manage our energy; avoiding burnout, ruts, and deeply engrained routines with our time that fail to deliver our desired results.
So why did I work? Because being away created a different mental state in which I could release daily details and really ruminate on the more creative and strategic. And thus, I elected to capitalize at the risk of being the biggest nerd on the island.
But here’s the thing… Excellence comes when we are able to create space for a full range of responsibilities – daily details, strategic thinking, leading people, and visioning – within the parameters of a typical work schedule. Visioning and planning should not require a trip across the planet.
And this is one of those things that we all know but don’t do. Thus, how well do we really know it?
What is required to ride the entire granular sand to big boulder continuum?
- A written plan for our time that is scheduled on our calendar,
- self discipline,
- the ability to change our own state.
Tony Robbins calls the first his results management system; in other words, aligning our time to optimize the results that matter. Discipline comes from within… To me, self discipline is not a rigor or a hard-nosed drive. It is a decision that excellence is non-negotiable.
And perhaps most importantly – changing our state. We cannot create brilliant strategy in the same mindset that we solve a labor challenge, review dashboards, or handle a miscommunication with a client. A switch must be flipped with intention. I’ve seen people change their states by meditating, singing, dancing, clapping their hands, whistling, taking a 5 minute power walk, or watching a motivational video. The ways to do it are infinite, and each of us is responsible for finding “our way.”
Don’t get me wrong… changing your physical environment is an outstanding way to change your thinking. And thus, business retreats, working offsite, and a little work invasion on vacation are powerful tactics to create the pause. However, they shouldn’t be your ONLY way.
My vacation revealed to me the need to gradecard myself against the 3 above criteria. What I found is that my state change habit needed a facelift. In other words, while naturally bent towards optimism, I am also naturally bent towards heavy left brain lifting. My opportunity is to intentionally activate my right hemisphere for creative, inventive work more frequently. And thus, this is my commitment to myself. What is your commitment to you?