– Are you an overachiever or an underachiever?
– Are you a type “A” personality or type “Z”… meaning, you get very little done?
– Are you someone who is always in motion? Or someone who is never in motion?
– Do you have a need to go, go, go and not stop until the next hill is conquered? Or are you still fighting to make it up the first hill?
If you are anything like me, being a type A once that hill is conquered, you don’t stay still long enough to enjoy the moment because you are already looking at the next hill… the next challenge… and planning how you are going to tackle it.
Who are YOU? What would you say defines you as a leader? Is it what you do? Who you are doing it with? Why you are doing it? What kind of leader do you want to be?
To discover who we really are, it’s necessary in life to have moments when we are “still”. When everything around us comes to a grinding halt and we pause, reflect and seek the answer. That moment can happen in the middle of the day when chaos and emotion is reigning around you. But that “still moment” can change everything. It can change who you are as a leader.
It’s in the “still moments” that we gain perspective, balance and focus. It’s in the “still moments” where we step outside of our emotions and determine what is best, regardless of how we feel or the energy and chaos around us.
My “still moments” are a time to check in with God. To seek His wisdom and guidance. (He’s so much smarter than me.) To slow down instead of spinning out of control. We can get spun up so tightly in any given moment that we forge ahead into disaster, mistakes and life changing moments that we never wanted. What a mess that can be.
So what does a “still moment” look like for you?
Maybe it’s a 5 minute walk outside as you pause and reflect. Maybe it is shutting your door, putting on some music and breathing deep to calm your racing heart or thoughts. Maybe it’s calling your coach or a friend to gain some balance. However you do it, it’s choosing to HALT your day so you can gain perspective on if you are forging forward in the right direction. In other words, you are “doing nothing” for at least a few moments of your day so you can “be still”. You are stepping outside the chaos to determine your focus and direction. Maybe forging ahead isn’t the right choice yet.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I have the verse on my wall by my desk so I can be reminded all the time that if I really want to KNOW God, if I really want to know His ways, I need to “be still” and tune in to Him… tune in to His Word… tune in to His Presence. He’s going to give me the direction I need to move forward. More importantly, by tuning into Him, I’m going to find peace. Forging ahead without peace is like walking through a mine field. You have no idea what is ahead of you or how you are going to react to it. So when a “bomb” goes off, you panic which only sets off more around you. None of us want that. But thankfully there is something we can do about it.
Being “still” takes practice and discipline… but the REFRESHING it brings makes it all worth it! Try a few of these:
- Relax your body! Close your eyes, take deep breaths and relax. Make it a point to relax every muscle even if that means starting at your feet and working your way up consciously relaxing every part.
- “GO” somewhere. For me the best place to go is where there is water. It has a tremendous calming influence on me. But in the absence of a place with water, I’ll put on the sounds of water flowing… or an ocean DVD. Whatever works for you, it’s worth doing it.
- Read a book or Listen to Music. Depending on what you enjoy more, a few minutes with some great music or in a book that relaxes you can do wonders for your mental health.
- Spend time with God through time in the Word every day. There is nothing that centers and focuses me more than time with Him. He promises peace to those who seek Him. I need that peace.
- Quiet your mind. In those moments, let go of the past, the present and the future and just “be still”. There are times when I’ll ask my husband what he is thinking about and he’ll say “nothing”. How someone can think about nothing is beyond me. I’m always thinking and over-thinking and strategizing… hmm… maybe that’s the problem. I need to learn to have moments where I’m thinking of nothing. I think my husband has the right idea.
- If all else fails, scream into a pillow. You may chuckle at that, but the emotional release of a buildup of aggression can really help. Not a screamer? Do some push ups or jumping jacks for 5 minutes. Anything to get your physical body to release the stress so you can then calm down and be still.
These are just a few ideas. Find something that works for you and practice it every day. Set a specific amount of time and stick to it. Even if it is only 5 minutes… that 5 minutes can bring refreshing, mental clarity and focus. If you have scheduled this time, don’t let anyone steal it from you. This is as important as anything else you do in your day. You’ll find it will change YOU and your leadership in a way that will define you in a NEW way!
When is it time to forge ahead? AFTER you’ve had a time of “being still”. Only then will you know if you are moving ahead for the right reasons.
By: Deb Hollis!