Take a break

31-05-2017

Friends and family, colleagues, teachers and doctors have given me the same advice time and time again: take a break. It is a simple advice. It was mostly well intended. I could not hear it for years. And when I could, I struggled to apply it. Truly apply it as a natural habit, which I knew I would benefit from. I have thrived for years on high speed and the adrenaline kick of just keeping it going: faster, more things simultaneously and preferably at a higher level. I did not notice the impact. And when I did, I glorified it: that is what happens if you want to be successful, a ‘winner’, a ‘hero’. Or I rationalized the impact it had on myself.

I see this all the time in my work with executives and corporates; busy people in an eco-system of KPI’s, meetings and email. “I cannot meet in the next two months”, said a very capable executive, just after being promoted. “I am doing two jobs. I am back-to-back in meetings”. “I have become the bottle neck” said another who had just been appointed to set up a new C-level function, which requires a lot of creative thinking. “How can you be creative when you are full”, my supervisor, once asked me, when I was fasting for a week. I had just become aware of how clear my mind was after a week of not eating.

Over the last two years, I noticed, I was slowly but surely running empty. I got stuck in old routines, skillfully hiding a lack of inspiration. My motivation and needs have shifted from being successful in growing a business to working together to create healthier and more human leadership and workplaces. My practices and routines have shifted much slower. I am still accepting work too quickly without an internal check (do I really want this?) and external check (does the client really want it, need it and are they prepare to walk their talk?). Busyness disease easily creeps up on me too, just like some of the people I mentioned before. I have not yet found a routine to revitalize and renew on an ongoing basis.

Old routines hold me back and are comfortable to defer to. It is time for a longer break to build new practices and energy, be curious and have fun. I am taking a longer break: I am taking the second half of 2017 off. I am looking forward to working together again in 2018 with new energy and inspiration.