Robert Kennedy stopped by yesterday and we asked him what he does to relax, unwind, unplug. His answer? He likes to go skiing.
You have probably heard the ancient wisdom which is ever more necessary in today's frantic paced word: You must slow down in order to speed up. I guess Robert would say you need to speed up in order to slow down! However, what he is really doing is giving himself the opportunity to unplug from the day-to-day in order to restore himself.
Deidre Hall, star of Days of Our Lives, came by and shared some interesting perspectives. She commented on how unexpected it was to find the Oasis, and the opportunity to stop and replenish.
I asked her what she does in her day to day life to replenish. She shared with me that "the opportunity is all too rare." Her perspective is that as a woman, it is hard to give herself permission to slow down, especially the part of her that is a Mom.
So, when I asked her how she restored the Mom part of her, she said something very interesting: she slows down and restores herself by doing what she calls "Mom things." She says she likes to bake, sew, clean, dust and rake the yard. Each of those gives her a sense of completion and allows her to restore, replenish and refresh.
Now how many of you have rake the yard, clean the kitchen or dust the house on your list of relaxing things to do?
Actually, Deidre has come across something quite powerful. Most of us rarely find the opportunity to experience to do anything with a clear start, clear action steps, a defined end point, and a way to acknowledge completion. Much of what we do in day to day life seems part of something that never ends, or perhaps is part of something that someone else will take to the next level. No matter how much you get done, there's always more to do, right?
However, if you have ever cleaned the refrigerator by accident, you will know what I mean. By accident? Follow me for a moment: You were hungry, went to the refrigerator to graze, and found something "growing" that shouldn't have been. Pretty soon you were taking lids off jars, throwing out old things, and taking the sponge to that dried up scummy bit that used to be liquid. Yup, you cleaned the refrigerator by accident.
And how did you feel when you got done? If you're like me, you stood back, felt kind of proud of yourself, and wished there were someone you could turn to for acknowledgement of a job well done. And that's the refrigerator! Maybe even more comical is that after the refrigerator, I'll bet you looked around the kitchen and found a few other things to tidy up.
So part of cleaning the refrigerator is the defined end point - you know when it's done and you can see how well you did it. The sense of completion is a powerful one, and for most of us, completion is something we rarely experience in our day to day jobs.
The interesting phenomenon here is that when you get to experience the full cycle of action, from the decision to start all the way to the satisfaction of having finished, you actually wind up having more energy than when you started! So, next time you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed, go clean the refrigerator!
I'd love to hear from you. Please do leave a comment here or drop me an email at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.
If you want more information on how you can apply this kind of reframing to your life and to your job, about a few simple steps that may wind up transforming your life, please download a free chapter from my new book, Workarounds That Work. You'll be glad you did.
Russell Bishop is an educational psychologist, author, executive coach and management consultant based in Santa Barbara, Calif. You can learn more about my work by visiting my website at www.RussellBishop.com. You can contact me by e-mail at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.