The benefits of taking some time to reflect.
During my younger years, I spent the best part of 20 years coaching basketball teams at various levels. During our matches I could always rely on a little safety net called the “Time Out”. No matter how bad things got in a game, there was always the time out to take a breather and set things straight. Whether we were on a negative scoring trend or if our players were “losing it” when under pressure, I could always call “time out” and take a momentary pause in proceedings. The benefits of this short pause in proceedings, just a little over a minute, were always productive. Getting the players into a huddle and settling things down always gave us the breather we needed to refocus, and the judicious use of the time out rule was a real strength in my game management strategy.
Taking a time out during our day to day activities when things get on top of us can be a great life strategy. But, realistically, stopping the merry go-round and pausing the play button is sadly often a last resort for people. Very often the last thing we will consider doing is nothing, modern living seems to be hard wired toward constantly doing. Although we have developed so many time saving technologies, we seem to be more time impoverished than ever.
And so onwards we go, striving but never arriving. A question I ask participants on my courses is “What’s the difference between being efficient and being effective?” This often throws people and they have to think about it before figuring out any differences. And boy, there is a big difference. I summarise it like this…Being Efficient means doing things right, being Effective means doing the Right Things. There is a big difference.
It seems that once most of us are engaged in doing things, we feel productive and that life is working as it should. Onwards we go, just pausing perhaps around Christmas time to say, wow, where did that year go! All of the things we set out to do in relation to making positive changes or personal growth seem to have disappeared in a whirlwind of activities, and we are left to reflect on what might have been.
The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, while expecting things to change.
To make real change happen we first need to know what changes we wish to make. This often requires a little time invested in thinking about our future direction, and herein lies the problem. Finding that time in this modern world can be very difficult, and this is why it is so important to metaphorically “draw a line in the sand”…. in some ways to say “no more”. Enough of this chasing your shadow, time to stop and take stock of your current situation.
By taking stock in this manner we can now begin to plot our journey towards what we really desire to happen in our lives. With our goal firmly established, all of our activities can now begin to work towards bringing this new life into reality. This is how the Law of Attraction often works in people’s lives, “like attracts like”.
Imagine a life now being lived where most things support the new way of living. Instead of the clock relentlessly marching us to our life’s end, we feel that we are actually being present to our everyday life. In this new awareness we are living mindfully from day to day (in some cases from moment to moment) and now you can make space for your life to unfold, just as it was meant to.
Two words that inform my life’s plan are “no regrets”.
One of my favourite management gurus, Charles Handy, describes this well in his famous book The Empty Raincoat. Handy’s goal was to experience as much as possible in his lifetime, to be “all used up” at the end of his life, and not to have left anything behind. I subscribe to this theory and want to keep working and contributing to society for as long as my health permits. Mostly I want to make sure that fear doesn’t hold be back. I think this is one of people’s biggest regrets, that they didn’t try something…and were left to wonder what might have been.
So is it time you drew that line in the sand?
You may be reading this and be feeling inspired to finally take stock of your own situation. There is no perfect time to do this, but if this is your time, I expect you will feel moved to take that step now. Whatever you decide I would encourage you to expect the best for yourself and for once put yourself and your own unique needs and desires before what everybody else demands of you.
I always recommend you take a couple of days to reflect on your future direction and my Inner Camino programme is designed to do just that.
For more details on my next Inner Camino retreat please visit https://www.whitneycareerguidance.com/inner-camino/