Monday, July 21st, 2014
SOLITUDE AS ANTIDOTE AND ORACLE
Here’s the blind spot. You, as a top leader or THE top leader become so used
to the over stimulation that you live in, the big fat crisis, the everyday talent crisis, the never ever getting it done crisis, the one wave after another crisis not knowing which one might swamp you, the unceasing demand of improvement crisis, the never ever taking a breath crisis– that you don’t know how adrenaline based your life has become. Your vacation is active fun, awash in cocktails, sprinkled with email and phone texts.
There is a kind of pride in being able to live this way. The guys I worked with would never ever admit to jet lag even when they slobbered in meetings they went to right off the plane. I too was proud of keeping my mental office open 24 hours a day. Then I had surgery and had to take a two week break.
My kids were at college, my husband at work and I got my first taste of well-being. I got enough sleep, I was rested, My judgment was more solid, I could see longer term and what needed to be done. I read in my field without fear of being caught at work (the ultimate type A company craziness) and I saw new possibilities and ideas. I benefited from solitude and rest.
I know how naive it is assume that you can carve out solitude easily.
Calendars almost always run amok. But I do know one idea my clients have used that works. Find an Inn or hotel nearby. Every six weeks, book a room for one night, from six pm to noon the next day. Come with work to do. Sit in solitude and do email and any other guilt work you need to do. Make sure the venue has a restaurant you like. Eat a late dinner. Work more if you need to in order to feed your productivity beast. Watch TV. Sleep. AND in the morning (this is the hard part) just sit and think and let your ideas come and go. Make a spill over list if you have to–a brain dump. But for the morning, no calls, no writing, no reading, just being and thinking and slowing down. Be alone until you can feel you are aligned with yourself and that you can see a better horizon and point the ship there.