Last week I was sitting in Starbucks when a woman came to sit down next to my table. She put down her books and began to open her laptop and then froze. She looked my way, frowned, and then asked, “Is it always this noisy in here?” I smiled and told her that it was pretty normal for mid-morning, so she sighed, picked up her books, gave me a smile and said she was going outside because she couldn’t think. Later that afternoon, I visited (believe it or not) another Starbucks, and I ended up leaving because it was really noisy. This got me thinking about noise in our lives. Can you lead when it’s noisy?
I reflected on this for a bit and realized how “noisy” my life has been lately. Lots going on, just as I’m sure all of you have multiple responsibilities at work and at home. There’s the kids, our spouses, our friends, bills, sports, exercising, grocery shopping, reading, planning, booking, attending. There’s work, phone calls, appointments, counseling, coaching, self-improvement. There’s cooking, laundry, chores. In all this noise, it becomes difficult to lead with purpose. So let me ask you a question…
What are you trying to accomplish and is what you’re doing helping you get there?
Sometimes, we just get so busy just… doing… that we forget what we’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes we just do, without realizing that we’re going in circles. I went to see Alice In Wonderland at a small community theater this past weekend. In one incident Alice was running after the Queen while going around a tree. Around and around they went. The Queen leading and Alice following. After a lot of huffing and puffing, the Queen stopped and Alice asked “where are we going?” The Queen answered “Going? Why, we’re going nowhere!” To which Alice responded, “Well that’s funny, where I come from going usually means going somewhere.” The Queen laughed and said, “Why would you want to do that?”
The point is pretty obvious, sometimes we run in circles because we miss the point. The point is to know where you’re trying to go. When life gets too noisy, we lose sight of what’s important. Our minds become cluttered and we lose focus and energy.
To lead, you must learn to quiet the noise. Stop. Just stop for a moment. Take a deep breath. Forget about all the “to dos” and “must dos”, and just relax. Don’t even think… just for a moment. Exhale. Inhale. Listen to your breath go in and out of your lungs. Go take a walk this afternoon after work. Clear your head. Enjoy the sunset and whatever weather you find yourself in. Then… think about where you’re going and focus on only the things that will get you there.
All the best!
All the time!