I’ve had a lot of people encourage me to always keep my foot on the gas. To keep producing no matter what. When I changed my mind or shifted direction, they’d encourage me to find the next pursuit as quickly as possible so I could get right back to producing.
Rather than taking the time to process and reflect and figure out where I wanted to point my compass, the advice was to just. keep. GOING.
It led me to a lot of activity, but not a whole lot of progress.
I had a very specific moment where I looked around at my life and realized, “I don’t want this. I’ve never wanted this.” I was working towards a completely different future than the one I actually wanted because I didn’t take the time to reflect. I had been taking other people’s advice rather than listening to myself.
It’s tempting to keep going no matter what. But if we’re constantly running running running and talking talking shouting, how intentionally can we be showing up? How aligned can our futures be with our goals and values if we’re not taking the time to really assess?
It’s ok to take a break from always being “on.” It’s ok to step away from developing, marketing, speaking, influencing to process and reflect.
That flies in the face of most marketing and business advice. Marketing experts and business coaches will harp on the importance of consistency and constantly putting stuff out there.
I get why they say that: they want you to be there for your audience. But what about being there for yourself?
If you need a break from social media, please take one.
If you need a break from creating your next venture, please take one.
Creativity needs to breathe in order to grow. It needs space to stretch out.
If we’re constantly running running running and talking talking shouting, how intentionally can we be showing up?
If you’re worried about hitting those KPI’s, I’d offer this: The more heartfelt your marketing efforts and the more personal your business, the more closely tied they are to your emotional state. Which means a break for your brain and body will translate into better business in the long run anyway.
Plus, if you need to step away from your business because you’re completely burnt out, that doesn’t help you accomplish your quarterly goals, either.
We’re cyclical beings in how we relate to ourselves and one another. What if we were all ok with being quiet sometimes? What if we didn’t see that as a failure or laziness or a deficit and simply saw it as part of life? In winter, plants and animals go inward so they can emerge again in spring with renewed force. What if we didn’t judge ourselves for taking our own winters whenever we needed them?
I’m currently in a period of growth and learning and a lot of unlearning. Some days I want to shout what I’m thinking from the rooftops to guide others and connect. Other days I want to nestle in with my feelings, cradle them close to my chest like treasures because I’m not ready to let them fly away yet. Both are fine.
Be wary of people and situations who expect you to constantly be producing without time for reflection. Even the most pressing of issues—systemic oppression, racial injustice, climate change—require quiet time for reflection. In fact they depend on it.
Don’t let anyone take that quiet away from you.