FIND YOUR Power in Equanimity: Massive Action of Doing Nothing
Never before have we been in this situation – a life full of paradox that continues to test us.
On one hand, I have never experienced such a time of peace and tranquility, calm and serenity with my family, and on the other hand, there’s also rage and frustration - all within moments of each other.
Similarly in my work, I am finding incredible demand to work with leaders whose impact reaches thousands of people. These leaders are desperately in need of equanimity (defined as evenness of mind especially under stress), in need of a place to turn into the paradox, learning not to react to any of it but rather sitting with it and allowing for insight and recuperation to come forward.
The constant challenge in the business world is the balancing act of contemplation and action, reflection and movement - feeling like you are moving the needle when the needle is going backwards. How do we reconcile these polarities?
Many of my clients are unbelievably stressed. On every video conference, I am seeing in front of me men and women with dark circles under their eyes, The stress levels they’re experiencing are stemming mainly from the enormous weight of the decisions they’re being forced to make. Many of the leaders I’m working with are also working much longer hours. Theoretically, working from home is supposed to provide more balance – ironically, just the opposite is occurring.
What to do? The answer is also paradoxical:
Schedule time for nothing.
Let me repeat, literally schedule time for nothing.
This could be the most important thing you do for yourself. It is not a time to catch up on email or get that workout in. This is a time for you just to give yourself what your body and your brain want and need: a massive break. Remember that quiet time that we used to take after lunchtime when we were little? Our bodies are now in a heightened stress mode, and unfortunately this is the new norm, which means we need to take massive action of doing nothing. No one is going to give it to us; we have to give it to ourselves.
In this rest time will come recovery, rejuvenation, and eventually insight. For some of us, the only way this will happen is if we schedule it by literally putting appointments in our calendars. Blocking time for our own nothingness could be the most ingenious thing we do for our direct reports, all the people we lead, our families, and most importantly, our own well-being.
In my 30 years of strategic leadership work, this is the most important thing I could recommend for any of my clients right now.
Find a book filled with inspiration: something to rejuvenate your mind with possibility, with understanding, with the intention of serving your soul. Consider books like the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel, or Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.
Simply reading a paragraph and contemplating what you’ve just read is perfect for a break, a way to simply be in this moment, enabling you to quiet your mind and providing the beginnings of some recuperation. Even doing this for just five minutes a day will help you in this journey of nothingness necessary to help you recover on a daily basis. Reset.
Repeat steps one and two.
That is it.
Yes, you can take a walk, watch your dog sleep, note the birds, notice how a duck swims. All of this is goodness. Just start something with simple so that you can begin letting go a bit.
Your brain will thank you.