“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost
I had a great pleasure recently to spend a week up on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of North Carolina. As a coastal resident, it was a welcome reprieve. The mountains are my ‘happy place’ if you will.
Be it hiking trails to waterfalls, walking across the infamous swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain, or hiking my way to the observation summit at Mt. Mitchell- the highest mountain peek east of the Mississippi, it was a great time. I live by the motto of John Muir, “The mountains are calling and I must go”.
The summer months tend to be markers. It’s the mid-point of the year, a time to look at where we’ve come and tweak goals and action plans for the remainder of the year. How is it looking for you?
But before we kick the can too far down the road, let’s take a moment to consider the benefits of summer. It’s an important time in the year for leaders and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to consider what I call the 4 R’s.
A time to rest
Many leaders I know struggle with the thought of rest. They are constantly on the go. Unfortunately, many leaders have subscribed to the notion that to rest is to violate their work ethic. Consequently, they never slow down, they are the first in, last out, and out-hustle everyone else. Noble characteristics for sure.
But even the best of leaders need to rest. A person can only burn the candle at both ends for so long and still maintain any degree of fresh thinking and energy. Do yourself, and everyone else a favor, and embrace the idea of rest. You will be a better leader for it.
A time to recharge
This is the value-added consequence of taking the time to rest. Your body, soul, and mind, can only run for so long and still be useful to you. Rest affords you the opportunity to recharge mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
Recharging your leadership through the lost art of rest will do you a world of good. When you are recharged you give yourself a fresh perspective on the issues at hand and it will give you the energy needed going forward. Rested and recharged you will position yourself for a great second half of the year.
A time to reflect
During down time and rest is the perfect time to reflect. It’s a time to look back at the first half of the year to see where you’ve come- to put it all in perspective. It’s a time to look ahead, not in the heat of the moment when there is no time to properly absorb what is taking place – but to do so in a state of mind that gives you the context you need.
In your time of rest and mid-year reflecting it’s also important to be present in the moment. “We always project into the future or reflect in the past,” says Marina Abramovic, “but we are so little in the present.” How much do we miss as leaders – family, children, memories we can never have again – simply because we were too busy and missed living in the moment?
A time to reconnect
The benefits of rest can be substantial. Times of rest is important for us in ways already mentioned. But the good it can do for you as a leader will make you a better one.
A rested leader is a more effective leader. Your thinking is more clear, your instincts are sharper, and your temperament is more balanced. Yet, none of these benefits would be possible without making the conscientious decision to rest. Rid yourself of the stigma that to rest is wrong, and embrace this important area of your leadership.
© 2017 Doug Dickerson