On the 1st of January 2019, it was a misty morning in London.
I sat for my first meditation of the year. I made sure I would be warm enough. Lightened up a candle. And closed my eyes.
Anchor. The word flashed in my mind in a millisecond.
That was intriguing. I’m a forest person ; the sea lover is my better half!
Was it time to check if my work, my life… were anchored into fertile grounds for the future? Was it time to lift my anchor and sail to new horizons?
I had to move back to continental Europe, discover the power of serendipity and truly listen to my inner leader to figure it out.
Here’s my review for 2019: work with pace or work with patience?
Intentions are made to be challenged
In Last year’s review, I wrote about my decision to go easy on mentoring and consulting in 2019. My next logical step was to work with patience and reflect on my intention. Was something I decided nearly 4 years ago still relevant to the person I am today?
I’ll cut the suspense here: the answer is “partly”.
Yes, sharing my tips on self-leadership made a difference for many people. And that means a lot to me. But I was not really in a hurry to get back to the hustle of the consulting work either.
Instead, my self-exploration practice kept bringing me back to my holistic view of well-being: attending to my inner journey (yoga) and outer journeys (travelling).
Until then, I used to consider those as hobbies. But as I went deeper, questions such as “would sharing this benefit others?” or “would it bring people together?” came up. Again and again.
And earlier this year, Bird of Paradise Travel was born. A company fully dedicated to wellness travel.
Being true to your intention but free with experimentation
2019 took my experience of self-leadership to a completely different level.
How do you lead through… “me, myself and I”?
I was setting up a new business. I was expecting my learning curve to be about confidence, resilience, or clarity.
Instead, creativity challenged me. Big time.
Being exposed to creativity is one thing. Usually, you consider your hobbies as a good way to boost creativity.
But when you start a new venture, you quickly realise that creativity goes way, way deeper than coming up with a business idea few had seen before.
You have to be creative with your concept. You need to work with patience and reshape it over and over again.
This delicate art demands you to be free with experimentation but true to your intention. It requires presence. It has to show in your quality of execution. And guess how you get there?
The one thing my corporate-formatted brain was not 100% ready for.
A new wisdom: work with patience
Until then, I was well-used to working with pace: take something, make as much as possible of it in the shortest amount of time without compromising quality. Over the years, it became my own definition of “a job well done”. And it worked wonders.
Then, I had to (painfully) understand that creativity is all about making a blink matter.
I discovered that playing with your creative juices is a delicate process. One that involves to let your brain rest, get some perspective and nourish your mind with food that would sparkle curiosity.
And that process works only if you work with patience.
Can you imagine the dialogue between my inner leader and my inner critic as I had to revisit my super efficient “get sh** done process”?
[If you want to know how it feels, try this: go for a walk between 3 and 4pm and tell yourself you are actually working. And see what feelings come up ;-)! ]
Getting out of your own way
Exploring creativity- as hard as it’s been- was a gift in disguise. I made me let go of a limiting belief.
“If you don’t work as much as you can, day in day out, for any project that matters, you won’t be successful”
What happened is I challenged that: I embraced a positive perspective and reframed.
“Big projects are really hard work, so take the time to work at being smart.”
I share it openly because I know many people who suffer from the same belief. People who attach their identity to how much they do (ask “how are you?” and they’ll answer “so busy”).
I share it, too, because I feel it’s time to rethink how we use our default productivity patterns.
Not every equation is to be resolved with throwing “more” (money, team members or agitation) at the problem. For some issues, it works well. But for others, you need a clear mind or perspective. And that involves to work with patience.
Would you play chess without taking time to think? Surely not. You need focus, perspective and sometimes a little bit of synchronicity.
Performance is decisive for anyone who wants to lead a successful career, business or team. To be performant, you need sharp thinking, focused action and sustained effort. All three demand willpower and self-discipline. All three demand your system to perform at its best.
And to do that well, you need strong boundaries for your own well-being routines.
You always bring your whole self to everything you do: work, relationships, parenting, personal interests…
If you know how to boost your inner strength when you need it the most, you sign up for a journey of learning. But show up agitated, tired or anxious, and the end result will be the same: you run ahead of yourself.
By going too fast, you arrive early to the party. You don’t get to meet the cool cats. That’s another big lesson from this year…but for another post!
So as you’re about to have a break (or so I hope), I encourage you to spend some time with those two questions: where do you need to work with pace? Where do you need to work with patience?
Originally published at https://www.coraliesawruk.com on December 17, 2019.