By Michael Gunther
The question “Do you spend enough time with yourself?” could be seen as rhetorical considering you never spend a minute without yourself. What I’m actually referring to is taking the time to think, contemplate and evaluate where you are in your business and your life and where you are going. Do you ever schedule ‘quiet’ time to slow down and just be with your own thoughts?
I feel very fortunate that I was exposed to this concept from a young age. First, my dad – he would encourage us to not only feed the body and the mind, but to make sure we were feeding our soul. Slow down and appreciate what is happening around you and recognize all the gifts you have in your life.
Second was my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Olivia, a quirky woman with a clear purpose of getting her students to explore their dreams and activities to gain a better understanding of themselves. She required us to write in a journal every day and to take alone time to discover our thoughts, feelings and challenges. This class exercise had a lasting and significant impact on my life. I still write in my journal, and I find it fascinating to go back through the last 35 years of my life and see some clear paths, behaviors and patterns that shaped my life and business. While some issues were conquered, some still prevail today.
My third influence with this concept was my boss and mentor from more than 20 years ago, Mike Rowe. Mike encouraged me, as a manager, to take time each week to “work on my business.” This time was to review my goals, team and plan in terms of where we were and what needed to change. My entire team knew I could not be disturbed during this time (it was a little easier back then because we didn’t have mobile phones, email or texting capabilities). It provided me with the opportunity to get out of the day-to-day operations and really focus on whether we were headed in the right direction.
So, how often are you taking time to “work on yourself” or “work on your business”? If you’re not doing this weekly, you’re not doing it enough. I encourage all of our clients and their managers to take time each week for themselves. Focus on your goals and projects and assess your company from a 35,000-foot view — consider where you are, what’s working, and what’s not. This time should be scheduled each week and treated as if you were with your best client — that means no interruptions, not taking telephone calls, responding to email or texts; solely focusing on the client and his or her needs (the client being you).
If you’re not sure how to spend this time, begin by recognizing your current frustrations or challenges within your business. You can also start the process by identifying all the opportunities you’ve wanted to work on for your business but haven’t yet started. Just the process of writing down your thoughts will allow you to begin exploring these issues or opportunities from a different perspective.
It’s critical to have thinking time. Slow down and schedule it in order to process what’s happening around you. The sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the rewards of taking the time to truly be with yourself. By implementing this simple process, you can be on the path to achieve the next level of personal or professional performance.