We studied Systems Theory as part of sustainability curriculum in graduate school. One of the foundational concepts is that the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
Take the human body for example - we are made up of several complex systems (nervous, respiratory, circulatory, musculoskeletal, digestive, etc) and together they create one heck of a unique human (the whole). It's not just these parts that make the human... it's how they work together, in connection. If one of those parts is not functioning well, it impacts the whole system.
Sometimes when we are feeling burnt out in business or life in general, it can be helpful to examine the connectedness of our "systems" and energize and deepen the connections that might not be functioning as well as you want them to be. Such...
My family loves to go river rafting. This summer we hired professional guides and paddled in the Grand Canyon. It had been awhile since we were in someone else's boat, following their commands, and we did so willingly as it felt like the stakes were high.
I loved watching the Guide read the water ahead and then tell us to paddle forward two strokes or four or paddle hard or take a break. Each of those commands represented a strategy to navigate the moment - fully knowing what's coming up around the riverbend.
Taking a break becomes a super important strategy to be able to sustain the paddling through the big waves.
It's no different in navigating business.
We know that success comes from showing up, doing hard things, and building systems over time that will make your operations more effective and efficient.
We make waves on purpose and sometimes by accident- and if we are following the river analogy, we won't be able to sustain our work without...
I'm guessing you have heard the term "reap what you sow." Unfortunately, our hard work doesn't always equate to desired results. Sometimes things don't go as planned, we don’t get a return on that investment, or the seeds we've planted don’t grow ( OR the frost comes right before harvest :).
Regardless of your current situation or the outcome of your efforts - you can harvest joy and REAP reward by following these simple steps:
R - Rest - rest is critical for your body, mind and spirit to renew. It is also critical for decision making and prioritizing. If you are feeling a lack of joy or increased chaos- sleep on it! If this is hard for you...consider mediation, slow walks in nature, warm baths, healthy diet and turning off the screen.
E - Explore Your Nature - each of us are equipped with an internal navigation system that lets us know when something feels “warmer” or “colder”. Track yourself...what interests you?...
I was thinking this week about my plants in the garden and how some of them thrive in certain spaces and some of them don’t.
On the back of their seed packets are specific instructions for how deep the seeds should be planted, how far apart from each other, when they should be planted (soil temp), etc.
Are people really any different?
Do we each actually have a set of ideal planting and cultivating instructions that if we followed we would set ourselves up to thrive and be more resilient?
What would those be for you?
If you were to write a description of your planting instructions- what would those look like?
Here are some ideas:
I need to head to the big city to get my car serviced, so I’m taking myself on a date.
I plan to sit and savor food in a restaurant and go to a book store and stay in a hotel.
I don’t feel a strong need to “get away” from anything, I just know that spending some quality, intentional time alone is so important.
Without a list, without expectation, without coordinating logistics.
I know that taking this time for me makes me more present and open with others.
It makes me return to home with gratitude for the life I lead and the people I love.
And… it's fun.
What would you do on a date with yourself?
Perhaps it's time to schedule that.