I’ve been reading a thought-provoking new book by the organizational behavior thought leader Margaret Wheatley, called So Far From Home. I appreciate her unique synthesis of global trends and the realistic, yet still inspiring, conclusions she draws about how we leaders can do meaningful work in the very complicated world we inhabit. Interestingly, Meg specifically calls out the Internet and its applications as a major source of distraction—the kind that negatively interferes with our quality of life. (How ironic that I am writing about it on a blog!)
This level of distraction has particularly bad implications for leaders–we can’t seem to get away from email, texts, social media, and other sources of information-overload that drown out any silence in our lives. In my experience, the constant opportunity for distraction allows us to feel a false confidence in the decision to solve primarily tactical problems, often at the expense of confronting deeper, wide-spread challenges and developing fully collaborative teams that can bring forth a unified vision into an ever-emerging global reality.
Do you wish you could find more clarity through the daily chaos? I certainly do. One of the comments I often hear from clients is that they appreciate our coaching sessions because they offer a chance to slow down, to think through complex issues, and to discover personal blocks that detract from doing their best work and leading their best lives. I have a coach, too, and I find the same benefit. And yet, I want more—one hour every week or two does not provide enough reflective solitude to see challenges and opportunities clearly and to do my own self-development work so that I can work through those challenges and opportunities with focus and grace.
I’ve tried several different disciplines for this kind of work: yoga, tai chi, meditation, journaling, jogging, and a variety of mind/body exercises. None have “stuck” as a discipline for me. They’re there when I want access to them, which is helpful, and yet I suspect that having more of a routine in one or more practices would provide a small island of calm and clarity in my very full life. Rather than commit to practicing a particular discipline, I’d like to have some fun with this by engaging in some intentional, focused experimentation to help me find the mix of disciplines that works best for me.
So, I’m asking for your help.
What practices do you return to on a regular basis for self-reflection, deeper thinking, and rejuvenation?
If you don’t have a regular practice, which ones have you considered or tried out on a short-term basis?
Please share your thoughts below. Based on the input I receive, I’ll choose a variety of activities for my experiment. I’ll give each activity a concerted effort over one to two weeks and evaluate the effect the practice has had on me, sharing my findings in this blog. My hope is that the experiences and lessons I share might help others to discover a practice that helps them return from the journeys that have taken them “so far from home.”
Thanks, Meg, for the inspiration. And thanks to YOU in advance for sharing your ideas with me!