If I could show you how you could:
- Cut down your stress
- Increase your confidence
- Save you many hours of work
- Improve your team’s productivity
… would you be interested?
And you only have to do this twice a year!
As a mid-life leader you probably:
- Are busy. There is so much coming at you that you have hardly finished one thing when the next one is already knocking at your door.
- Feel the weight of responsibility – there’s a lot hanging on you, and people are looking to you for leadership.
- Are tired of the endless pressure. You are tired of everything being urgent.
- Have thoughts of escaping – sitting on an island beach far away with no cellphone service.
You can do something about this! Doing this activity twice a year can make a huge difference…
Yes, I said leave.
But not to escape to an island beach.
Instead, go somewhere you feel comfortable, somewhere enjoyable.
For 2 or 3 days. Yep, overnights.
Away from everyone, and from all the urgent responsibilities.
- A safe place to pause … to rest … to think.
- To collect your thoughts.
- To connect with God.
- To slow down enough to let your spirit catch up with your body.
- To let God organize your fretful mind.
Here’s one way to do this:
- Get Away
- Drive to your safe, comfortable place. Somewhere nice, preferably with a good view.
- Place matters. Don’t go somewhere dingy to save money; what you will do here is really important, so be willing to do whatever is needed to be in a nice place.
- Unload your stuff and settle in to the space.
- Connect with God
- Quiet yourself. Relax, and let the rpm’s of your life slow down. If you are tired, take a nap.
- Talk with God. However you like to do this; be intentional to open your heart to your Father.
Pull out your journal, and write your thoughts out to God … to yourself. Just write everything out. There’s something that happens to the jumble of thoughts and emotions when you take the time to write it down – longhand, on paper. Not for anyone to read except you. Journaling is a good way to lay your thoughts out to God.
So don’t worry about how it looks.
- Unload your mind
Write down on separate sheets of paper the different areas of responsibility or challenges you are facing. Put every major idea on a separate piece of paper.
It gets less jumbled when you write things down, one thought after another. And somehow seeing it down on paper takes pressure off your mind. Its like your brain sees it there, and says, “Ok, I don’t have to hang on to that now; its written down.”
Unburden your mind by simply dumping every concern, idea, worry, observation and thought onto paper.
Write the ideas down as soon as they come; don’t worry about the order of things – you can fix that later.
Keep writing until everything is written out, and there’s nothing unrecorded from your mind.
If you are exhausted, take a nap.
Then get up, and go at it again until absolutely everything is written down.
Offer the whole pile to God in prayer. Ask Him to sort you out.
- Organize the pile
With a less burdened mind … you will begin to think better, more creatively.
- You may notice that when everything is written down things are not as bad as it seemed
- Capture every creative possibility that comes to mind – write them down
- Group your thoughts into themes
- Note the new ideas that rise, and what you would have to do to carry them out
Take a break every 90 minutes and walk around for 15-30 minutes, whether you think you need to or not. Give your brain a new way to think by changing your environment and body position.
Come back and write down all good thoughts you had on your walk.
Group your ideas into priorities. Capture and write down every action item that comes to mind.
Don’t be rushed; take your time. Having an overnight retreat like this puts your brain into a more relaxed mode. You don’t have to have everything done the first day. Let things evolve. Allow ideas to cook.
Stop for a snack or a meal. Enjoy some good music. (But don’t let your mind be distracted with watching a movie, listening to the news, phoning, email or Facebook; stay unplugged, stay focused, stay relaxed.)
- Write out your plan
After a while, you will notice that your mind and heart is settling into a plan of action.
You have a handle on things again.
You know mostly what needs to happen next.
These action ideas will then need to be written out into a plan, and put on a calendar.
You, my friend, have just had a personal retreat.
- Your stress levels are reduced
- Your confidence to face the future is strengthened
- You leave with an action plan that lets you focus on productive work, rather than spinning your wheels
- You know what you can delegate – and your team knows how they fit in
Productive, effective leaders do this. Regularly.
Two times a year work best for me. I need to do this, or I get lost in the mass of urgent things, and tend to burn out. Here’s the two times that work for me:
- In the new year, when I naturally am reflective over the past year, and thinking about what’s coming the next year
- Mid-year, before the fall busyness sets in.