Knowing When to Retreat

Have you ever thought you’re pushing too hard?   If you drive yourself, chances are you’re pushing others as well.  Usually the two are connected.

Having our foot permanently on the accelerator results in chronic change fatigue and burnout.  As an organisational development consultant, I see individual leaders and organisations spinning their wheels.

Perhaps the problem stems from Isaac Newton’s first law which suggests that in order to create movement or progress, we need to act on something with a force, greater than any resistance we may encounter.  But have you ever noticed that the more you push, all you seem to achieve, apart from tiring yourself out, is resistance and frustration?

If you’re like me and were raised on Newtonian logic, to suggest that we can achieve great things without such strain is almost heretical.  But several years ago I realised that most of the significant growth in my company came when I stepped back from routine meetings and endless email and started to reconnect with what I really love.  I began to notice not only what’s important for me, but what matters to my clients and future generations.  A deeper sense of leadership emerged.

I’m still amazed to find that when I get out of the way and let life speak to me, opportunities start to open up.  New clients and contracts that fascinate and challenge me, seem to emerge out of the blue.

Currently I am in Provence in the South of France, where people seem to understand the importance of taking time out- of being in, rather than isolated from life.

The midday meal and l’heur de la siete (or siesta) epitomise a rhythm that allows time for the fruits of our labours to ripen.  Not only the meal, but experiences and ideas are digested enough to discern their merit.  Not surprisingly life is more enjoyable.

We fall into the trap of busy work when we lose connection with our vision and deepest guiding principles.  If we’re to discover sustainable ways of running our organisations and living our lives, it’s important to understand the genuine source of our power and potential.

For me change becomes plausible when we experience a different way of being.  That’s why I’m now running residential retreats for organisational leaders and practitioners in Provence, so that they can reconnect with life and rediscover their mission.  In my experience when we connect deeply with our sense of meaning, we get more done with less strain, for ourselves and for others.

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