When have you had your last best idea? When do you have moments of clarity that help solve your toughest challenges?

As we head into Spring Break, and after a year of little to no rest, there is a need for sabbatical, rest, downtime.

We’re not meant to work all the time, and yet we do. I do too if I’m not careful. I could listen to a podcast while driving, read an article or blog that has been sent to me, or make a phone call that is on my list to make sure I’m the most efficient I can be. Better check that phone one more time to make sure I’m not missing anything.

The weekends aren’t much different as I have to get all the driving, games, chores, and to-do’s done before next week start.

I was talking with an Acumen member about this challenge last week. The weather has been atrocious, but it was the one week of 60 degrees and sunny, and he was lamenting the need to go out and play golf. He stated that he is better at work when he can go outside and not think and let his subconscious work on problems. He felt guilty about the time it would take away from work but knew that it would make him more productive.

Do you have this tension?

All of our meetings, reading, replying, texting, slacking, podcasting in a constant cycle will create more anxiety instead of relieving it. It’s counterintuitive. The more I “get done” and communicate, shouldn’t I feel better? Nope. You’ll feel more anxious. There is always more work behind the list you finished.

You don’t want to rest or relax because when you stop striving and working, you aren’t in control, and for some reason, many leaders feel like they need to be in control all the time. If this last year taught us anything, it’s that none of us are in control.

Your team would benefit by you being in less control. If your business breaks if you are gone for a couple of hours, you have an unhealthy business or unhealthy leadership style.

The Shower

Showers are an excellent analogy for what you need in your life to allow rest for your brain and recharge your creativity. Why do showers work so well? You’re relaxed. Your mind is distracted with routine (not junk), allowing your subconscious freedom to operate.

How many times have you had a fantastic idea during these types of moments?

Do you have a “shower’ time in your week? How do you healthily relax your mind?

For me, it’s running. I run with me and my thoughts – no tech. I get 90-120 minutes a week of uninterrupted thought time. It’s golf for one acumen partner – a four hour shower, where I guess if you are good enough, you can relax, unhook, and just hit the ball. Golf would have the opposite effect for me. Shooting in the low 140s will do that to a person.

Another place I find rest is church. My heart hardens over the week, and just like my head, my heart needs rest. Church cracks the hardened shell around my heart that builds up over the week. I can feel my soul filling up with the empathy, patience, love, and hope I need for the week. Just like a hard head, a hard heart will grind on your ability to lead.

Let’s get trite and tell you things you already know.

The higher you go in an organization, the more time you need to:

  • Work ON the business
  • Work on what’s important, not urgent
  • Spend time thinking not doing – Strategy vs Work

Being IN the office isn’t always the most productive version of you, nor does it allow you to be visionary. Just because you checked another box on your to-do list doesn’t mean you are leading your company well.

What is your shower?

Have you taken your “Shower” lately?

If not, what is preventing it?

What ideas are you missing out on?

Don’t let your business stink, take a shower!