It’s been a few weeks since I posted because I took time out to visit the coast and catch up with some friends visiting from out west. It’s not as if I was going to be frantically busy anyway but I was nervous about taking time off. It was as if I had to give myself permission to ‘DO NOTHING” because that is exactly what I ended up doing – pretty much. After leaving a job last year where my calendar was chockers and the pace of emails dropping into my in box gave me a queasy feeling in my stomach, the thought of “nothingness” was quite frightening.
It’s always tempting for me to write things into my dairy/calendar so it looks like I’m busy (at least to me) but I decided that I would go with the flow and see what might happen. Would I survive five days without a plan? Just winging it is not something I’ve done – ever! I like certainty and stability. I like to know what’s coming next. I like to be on time. I like to be in control. This would mean not weighing myself every day, getting up when I woke up (if I felt like it), not exercising if I felt tired. Unlike the advice meted out by motivational gurus and exercise experts, I was not going to make myself do anything.
So, how did I go? Well, at first I felt slightly off centre, adrift, driving toward the coast and feeling slightly anxious that I hadn’t packed an esky, did not have my favourite tea and had no idea what I’d do for dinner. However, my friends had already arrived and being much more relaxed than me, I took their lead. Breathe in, breathe out and let it all go. And that’s what I kept doing. I took off my watch so time didn’t matter. I didn’t have to worry about WiFi because it was virtually impossible to access it or 4G. To use my mobile, I had to stand in one spot in the apartment so it felt easier just to not use my mobile. Not adhering to time, I ate when I was hungry which meant I only ate two meals a day instead of three. I drank less alcohol because I even sipped less frequently. I made no plans but that didn’t mean we didn’t do anything. It just meant that we were flexible and did what we felt like at the time.
The extraordinary thing for me was that by only the third day of this, I was so relaxed that in the middle of the day, while reading lying on the lounge I felt quite tired so I closed my eyes and went to sleep. I WENT TO SLEEP in the middle of the day. OMG! That was the first amazing thing but the second thing was that I DIDN’T FEEL GUILTY.
By the fifth day, I felt refreshed and alert. I woke on Friday morning with renewed energy but a different one to the the energy flow that has driven me in the past. I had a feeling of optimism brought on by the fact that by not planning ahead, I had achieved a sense of equilibrium that I had been chasing for some time. I’m all for setting goals and finding pathways (it’s my purpose in Open to Success) but I also see that we all need to step away sometimes. Doing that takes as much discipline as sticking to a diet or exercise plan. Striving can become addictive – to the point that we become list makers to satisfy our need to achieve.
I’m glad I took the chance and let go. I really believe that we can help ourselves and others by taking time out to reflect. My coaching practise is about guiding others to know themselves well before making decisions. I have learnt a few things about myself this week. I hope you can take some time out to do the same or at least add it to your list.