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What Mindset Will You Enter 2020 With?

A Welcome Reprieve

This past weekend I paid a visit to a close friend at his vacation home in the Blue Mountains. We had a phenomenal home-cooked meal with his warm and welcoming parents (a real treat for a guy who often eats standing up). We had excellent conversations which helped to clarify a few things for both of us heading into a brand new year. And we took a 5km hike up Blue Mountain and down to take in a little fresh air.

The entire round trip took only 24 hours. But it was a reminder of how rejuvenating a change of scenery and a little contemplation time can be. As I was driving home I realized just how hard I’ve been skating these days. My next thought skipped to wondering if my skates were sharp enough for my edges to properly dig in…

Sharpening Your Skates

Last week’s post surmised that many of us are so busy these days that we find it difficult to sit in quiet contemplation. This is tragic because it effectively removes any ability to sharpen our skates. Study after study has shown that keeping a frenetic pace dulls our blades over time. Furthermore, most experts suggest that humans can only intently focus for around an hour at a time before productivity declines significantly. A certain amount of downtime is necessary to true up our edges. If our skates are dull, we are wasting effort. It’s really that simple. At worst, we could be expending a ton of energy to effectively go nowhere. This makes no sense.

The Holiday Opportunity

If you’re anything like me, you probably overestimate how many projects you can get done over the holidays that fit into the category of “important but not urgent”. And while it could be important for you to strike a few items off that list, it might be even more important to give yourself a breather, allowing a slower pace and a calmer mindset to take hold.

It’s easy to make excuses by substituting one frenetic pace for another. For many, the holidays are full of visits and visitors, copious travel and other madness. Ultimately, however, we are all responsible for our own mental health. What’s more important? – driving for two hours in a snowstorm only to watch uncle Bob get drunk and cast barely veiled insults around the dinner table out of some perverse sense of obligation…OR, deciding not to go and having a movie night with the kids? At the end of the day, it’s a decision. Too often, conscious or not, we make decisions that add to our stress and dull our skates.

The World Isn’t Slowing Down

Perhaps it’s time we all stopped talking about how busy we are as if we can’t control our lives and started accepting the responsibility we all have to rest and recharge. At the end of the day, it’s not a selfish thing to do. Quite the opposite actually! We become better parents, children, spouses, leaders, colleagues etc. after we’ve had a little decompression time.

Pick Your Poison

The ways to recharge are only limited by our imagination and what floats our boats. Whether it’s reading a book, spending a day in your pajamas, taking the kids out to skate on a pond, going for a hike in the frosty air, binge-watching Netflix, taking naps, meditation, woodworking, pottery, skiing/snowboarding, or even having lots of good sex, the possibilities are endless!

What Mindset Do You Want to Enter 2020 With?

When everyone gets back to work in the new year, I get so bored of hearing people say “I feel like I never really got a break” as if some unknown force controlled the way they spent their time. And yet, every year I hear this so much that I have to stop asking “How were your holidays?” for my own sanity. Most of us know exactly what mental state will set us up for success beginning the new year. Here’s the question: Is it important enough for you to do what it takes to achieve that mindset? While I can’t answer that question for you, I believe it’s important enough to be very deliberate in your response.

Happy Holidays to Everyone! Make It Awesome!

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Brent C. Wagner