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« Time to reboot | Main | Leading from alongside »

Time to pull over and enjoy the view

Keep calm and do nothing

If your mind is empty, there’s a chance you’ve left enough room for lateral ideas to move in. It’s one reason people feel creatively refreshed after a break.

About four years ago, I wrote a piece on this that turned out to be surprisingly popular. It suggested you choose just one of three simple ideas, spend a few moments thinking about it, then leave it. No further effort was required. 

What were the suggestions?

You at your absolute best 

Can you remember a time when you were really on fire; the day it all came together. You had an exceptional first date, made the amazing sale, got the big promotion, won the game or simply felt beautifully at ease. If you had to put it down to one thing about you or then, what was it? It’s something you’ve still got. Can you put it back into gear next year? Park that memory of just how good you can be in the back of your mind. Let it hang out there for the holidays. 

Your relationships 

Do you have friends or clients or colleagues who have drifted off? What’s changed? Have they? Have you? Doesn’t matter which, but is there anything tired about the way you are going about things? Do you or your business need a makeover? Do you need to restore your relevance to yourself and others? The answer might be in things like marketing or product development. But could it also be a simple change you can apply holistically across everything – in your attitude, presentation and the way you deal with those around you, anywhere at any time?

Your expectations 

Lower them; raise your appreciation instead. Maybe when you look around at what you’ve got, you might just be grateful; that how it is right now is perfectly OK; that maybe neither you nor your business needs to be fixed; that if there is anything that needs work, you might just give it the space to heal of its own accord. There is a peace in that place which is more powerful than some of the greatest ideas.

Once you’ve chosen, don’t think about it again. Have no expectations. Just enjoy. 

I’m taking my own advice and resting for the next few weeks. In the New Year, Patrick and I are launching an edited collection of past work and new writings. It’s called Management Reboot. The past twelve months have been a time of historic shifts. The coming year may require us to reboot much of our thinking. All the more reason to rest now.

In the meantime, I hope you have an enjoyable break. Thank you everyone –- clients, readers, colleagues, and my family –- for your support and feedback in the last year. It has been much appreciated.  

Go gently.

Reader Comments (7)

Good piece. Reminds me of the quote: "Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organise your life around it. Easy to say. A bit harder to do.

December 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterManny S

I remember reading this before. Don't know how much progress I made on the suggestions, but I certainly got a rest.

December 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJodie LIster

You are right about last year. Nothing went according to plan. Turmp, Brexit, even the Koreans turned against the chaebol. Is nothing sacred? Roll on 2017.

December 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoberto

I've never had a great first date. Merry Christmas Alan.

December 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVanilla Cafe

Keep calm and act like you know what you're doing.

December 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuzie Q

Thanks, Alan. Deceptively effective. Woke up in the early hours and was reading this. Tried it as suggested and it really seemed to work, i.e., gave me new perspective. Cheers, Happy Christmas to you and family.

December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDerek Davies

I think it has landed at a better time the second time. Our minds can do a lot when we are not pushing them.

January 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDeanoArncliffeRedcliffe

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