Recently, the stars aligned for me to have a much-needed throwback weekend – two days of steady rain, a stellar vinyl collection and my personal commitment to unplug for a bit from the unrelenting pace of work. I was listening to John Lennon’s song, Watching the Wheels, and was struck by the lyrics in the first chorus:
People say I’m crazy
Doing what I’m doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings
To save me from ruin
When I say that I’m okay, they look at me kind of strange
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game
These words struck me in their meaning for Lennon, personally, but also for myself, the business world and the general population at this point in time. Lennon, of course, had international fame as a member of The Beatles. He was also known as a bit of a recluse, dropping out of the intense rat race that life had become for The Beatles. I suspect he viewed that decision as one of survival.
The Beatles were a phenomenon in many respects. They achieved an unprecedented level of popularity and stardom at a very early age. In a span of just seven years, the band delivered 13 albums and two feature films, with seven of the albums delivered during their four touring years. Is it any wonder that their trajectory resembled a meteor that burned with blinding brilliance and extinguished too quickly?
I think of that dynamic in light of today’s sales and leadership world where it feels like we are running at full speed 24/7. No longer is there an end-of-business timeframe that signals the conclusion of the work day. Evening, late-night and even middle-of-the-night texts and emails have become the norm. Some folks cannot even detach long enough for a restroom break, choosing to spend precious minutes answering emails or text messages from the throne. This relentless pace can leave sales professionals and leaders feeling beleaguered, and we need to consider the long-term impact on our well-being and productivity.
This weekend, unplugging for a bit to sit down and just listen to my LPs, I made a concerted effort to stop thinking about tasks, to do lists, travel schedule and acute business issues. I was not answering texts and emails, or worrying about my obligations for the coming weeks. What I found was that a little time and space from the day-to-day minutia opened my mind for broader considerations of greater long-term impact…how can Carew provide value that is beyond what our clients are expecting? How can our team be more helpful? What common ground do I have with my clients that will translate into innovation or improvements? These moments that were intended to be “unplugged” actually generated a productive flow of insights, creativity and ideas.
The experience got me thinking about just how rarely we take a moment to think…openly…as a means to generate new ideas, insight, problem solving and innovation. We need it. Our companies need it. Our clients deserve it and should be demanding it. So, sit back and carve out some time to exit the rat race and make room for bigger ideas. You might be surprised at your own brilliance and, if you are like me, you will find it rejuvenating and productive to have those moments.