I’m practicing something new. Something that's very counter intuitive. Tim Ferriss calls it “Deloading.” I call it “creating space.” The idea is a planned reduction in normal activities to enhance creativity, productivity and quality of life.
Taking a break, in my case, involves taking my foot off the gas and traveling to Nicaragua for a yoga retreat. This is largely an experiment to unplug, plan and restore. I’m testing the theory that the best ideas come when they are not forced.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.” – Anne Lamott
There is a lot of chatter around the topic of unplugging and creating space for big ideas to flow. And I can already tell you that on my first day away, I wrote 5 pages of new ideas in my journal as I sat on my balcony and listened to the ocean.
I have loosely embraced this idea before but never as intentional and ‘all in’ as this time. And honestly, it scares the hell out of me to unplug for an extended period of time. As I write this, my lizard brain is shouting “do more”, “you can’t afford to take a break”, “business owners don’t have the luxury of taking down time.” Yet I know that to create something bigger, different, or better, I need to make space for answering the bigger questions.
So here’s how I’m throttling back during the month of April:
- The Startup Sessions podcast will be on hiatus for April. Except for this short recording, I have suspended guest interviews until May. The good news is that I have some new surprises planned for May. I can’t wait to reveal more!
- I’m largely unavailable from April 9th – 20th. That means limited interaction with email, clients, social media and generally spending no more than 30 minutes per day on the computer or Skype. The only exception is a call with my coach and a 30-minute check in with a client.
- Start every day with writing or journaling and exercise.
- Spend as much time as possible in nature.
- Asking and answering really big questions.
Here's what's going to change about the podcast. Starting in May, I’ll be sharing much shorter episodes about the actions I'm taking to shape my business. Every week I will be creating new and actionable episodes intended to show you what's working for me and my clients as well as what’s not working. Don’t worry, I will continue to interview amazing guests and share stories from accomplished entrepreneurs.
I'm really looking forward to talking more about the nitty gritty of how to start, grow and scale a business as well as discussing the strategies that are working really well.
And here are the questions that I will be answering for myself over the next few days. I encourage you to do the same:
- What activities am I doing that are responsible for 80% of my results?
- What activities and people are causing 80% of my negative results/emotions?
- Am I doing what I’m uniquely capable of and am I doing what I feel that I’m placed here on earth to do?
- Am I replaceable? In other words, does my current work have a similar impact as someone else? Because if it does, I’m totally replaceable.
- What is my best shot at having a lasting impact on the greatest number of people? Life is fucking short and nearly everyone dies before they are ready.
- How often am I saying “Hell Yes?” If I’m not saying “Hell Yes” then I should be saying “no.” If I feel anything less than “WOW! That would be amazing. Hell Yes!”, then my answer should be “no”. I know that when I say “no” to most things, I create space in my life to really throw myself into work or projects that make a difference. And saying “yes” to too much will bury me alive and render me to being a B-level player even if I have A-player skills. Spending time on opportunities that rank as a 9 out of 10 will keep me from opportunities that are a true 10.
- How much of my life is spent making vs managing? Where making equals large uninterrupted blocks of time to create and connect the dots, 3 – 4 times per week. How do I feel about where I’m at with this and what needs to change to improve it?
- Why am I doing what I’m doing anyway? Life favors the specific and punishes the vague so it serves me to be specific about what I’m doing and why.
Well, there you have it! There’s a list of the questions that I'll be asking myself over the next few days as I unwind and make room for the silence between the notes. I’ll be sharing my answers to these questions in early May so stay tuned for that.
That’s all for now. Adios from Nicaragua.