Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Type A classic scenario

It happened again - I was on a plane from Orlando to Chicago and sat in between two hard working, hard at it, Type A women. This is not unusual, but this time for some reason it made me wonder if this is really the way to success. Is Type A really the only way? Is it the appropriate path to promotion?

After a brief conversation with both women, one was on her way to a conference, working on reading the pre-material that would allow her to be prepared. The other was reading a study module for a Master's class she was taking over the week. Both mentioned in their own way being too busy at the office to prepare for their out of town business effectively. Both yawned during our conversations (I don't think it was a reflection on me) and both mentioned how much they wish they could just take a nap. What is it that makes us drive so hard to acheive? What is the cost of such constant driving and rarely taking a moment, or many, to rejuvinate.

Friends joke with me that if it gets on Monica's list, it gets done, so make not mistake, I am not one to criticize the whole Type A conundrum - the constant drive to get things done at all costs - I am merely questioning at this stage of the game whether or not all the stress of achieveing is really worth it, really healthy, and really the model for success that we all think it is. Maybe every so often, every once in a while, we should... just take a nap.

Until we have the privilege of meeting in person...

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Little, or not so little, Texas Tornado

There it was, staring me in the face: the mountain of paperwork, proposals abound, a billion emails, a book to finish and a product to create... all by oh, you know... tomorrow! Then it hit me, a friend affectionately refers to me as the Little Texas Tornado (for those of you who don't know, I am originally from Texas) and here I am living the very concept. My office is a tornado of creativity, productivity and potential burn-out-tivity.

Ever been there? Chances are good that you have and as I hear it all the time from high achieving individuals, chances are also good that you haven't taken time out for you in a while. The truth is - we all so desperately need it. In my experience, truly effective leaders take the time. They take sabbaticals, retreats, vacations, even if only for a day or for a moment to stare out the window, they take the time to reflect on priorities and directions and just blank space. The tornado that is my office will wait, the health and well being of my body and brain will not. So, with that said, today is the day that I choose to brag about the people, the accomplishments, and not the hours worked to get there. Today is the day that I proclaim that 80 hours a week is not the average that we should seek to achieve, but rather, 80 moments of peace, gratitude, and reflection is the goal to which I am now striving. That doesn't mean that I am going to hole away and find a beach and just do nothing, but it does mean that I am going to ratchet the stress level down a notch and just chill long enough to actually eat breakfast and drink my latte.

What are you doing today so that your capacity to lead yourself matches or at least is close to your capacity to lead mulitple projects at one time. Without some continued focus on the first, you may not have any energy left to complete the second. Just a thought... enjoy your day!