"The trip, in other words, gave me some amazing sights, but it's only sitting still that allows me to turn those into lasting insights. "
I read in a flight magazine of the term 'digital burnout'. It spoke loudly. Due to the condition of our perpetual inter-connectivity, the demands of being instantly available as a 'way of being' is creating a 24 hour day, with no repose, rest and time out!
The consequences of this are long lasting! We are building pathways in our brains that have not truly engaged strategically with the landscapes of our future to ensure that these will bring about optimal and quality ways of being. Just like nation building and government planning, we are creating the networks of our children's worlds. Are these the worlds that you want for them?
The body, the mind and the human spirit do not work optimally under relentless pressure – we are structured to rest in between activity. It is the design of sleep. Only with rest can the brain optimally engage in thinking, create space for connections, for reflections, for engagement, for daydreaming new pathways into being. It is only then that the creative, generative, and conscious engagement with our whole selves can take place: anything less is partial and thus limited!
Digital interconnectivity is no replacement for human connectivity and as much as we have gained by the innovation of internet connectivity – it remains a contradiction and it has a huge shadow!
The pursuit of certain objectives and the exclusion of others that are deemed to be important, indicates a world that has still much growing up to do – away from reactive mindsets which are impulse driven, opportunistic, self protective and narrow to ones that are able to be expansive, hold multiple and competing elements at the same time, and navigate a healthy way through – for business success and for living the values which hang on so many walls in organisations and establishments.
How can you cultivate a healthier way?
"Can you catch up with life? Bring stillness into the commotion of the world?"
Pico Iyer – The Art of Stillness
- Doing both the inner and outer work of leadership – growing up by expanding our capacity to think, act and be able to access our mature selves – our wisdom selves!
- Cultivating mindful attention, retention, relationship, regeneration and multi-perspective awareness that is paradoxically able to both slow down, and to speed up, as part of a mastery practice is an option to breakdown our adrenalin driven re-activeness to life.
- Being able to be with self, with another and with what might be possible in a mindful way is something that is hard to be and hard to do, with the ever increasing demands from the world and in our own inner worlds AND it can be counteracted.
- When we then speak of leadership, we would want to ask leaders this question: If your people were not driven by the survival needs of getting a paycheck at the end of the month, would they still want to work for you, or your company, or do the things they are doing in their job?
- What is driven by fear and what is driven by a real value on quality of presence, perspective, purpose, process, people and product may be something that you want to ask yourself as you create your strategy for this year.
- Engage with partners who can work with you to bring about these shifts.
- And cultivate the skill of empathy! This is not a soft skill – this is a skill and awareness, a capacity to put one's self in the shoes of another! Imagine being able to truly understand another from a feeling, cognitive and a social level. Can you imagine what this would do to the results on a shop floor, for solving critical efficiency problems, HR challenges, financial planning and ultimately the strategy of a whole company and the smooth working of systems and processes?
Leadership Practice: Create moments of Reflection.
Below is a practice I invite you to experiment with to help you open up a space for reflection and integration. Give yourself the gift and luxury of empty space to invest in yourself, so you can be with others in the World!
Stop a moment: Notice how your heart is beating, how your eyes are feeling and what they are seeing.
Notice how high up into your neck your shoulders are sitting.
Allow yourself to breathe deep into your gut.
Gently drop your shoulders.
Take a deep sigh.
Hold your eyes softly shut for 3 seconds.
Is your busy mind running at a speed that leaves you breathless or are you able to let it notice:
- The person next to you?
- The place you are in?
- The thoughts you may be thinking?
- The emotions you may have?
- The impulse in your body to react, resist, respond or rest.
Take time to just notice…
Now that you have noticed – What do you want to do next?
And how do you want to be in that next moment?
There are two moments in our lives where it (all) starts and where it (all) stops: The moment we take our first in breath and the moment we let out our last breath.
In between, we have a certain number of breaths – how do you want to use them?