After a particularly painful revelation by Gail in “The Sapphires,” Dave tells her “we should dance.” This seemingly insensitive, nonsequitur was spot on. She needed to reframe her perspective and dancing with Dave at that moment provided a much needed break from rage, allowing her space to move forward.
This phrase resonated with me as we all need a periodic time out to refresh and recharge from the work of striving for whatever. Linkedin CEO, Jeff Weiner, writes about his transformation from guilt about wasting time to the realization that periodic breaks are critical to his success. “As an organization scales, the role of its leadership needs to evolve and scale along with it. I’ve seen this evolution take place along at least two continuum: from problem solving to coaching and from tactical execution to thinking strategically. What both of these transitions require is time, and lots of it. Endlessly scheduling meeting on top of meeting and your time to get these things right evaporates.”
I started taking walking breaks when studying for college exams and now walk my Westie when I need a creative jumpstart or to think through a “preretirement” issue such as where to live or even something mundane like what to wear to an event the next day. Many issues which seem just out of our grasp appear out of the corners of our eyes as we delight in nature, stare into space, go to the gym or otherwise distract ourselves with downtime. Weiner describes moving from “tactical execution to thinking strategically:” “That thinking, if done properly, requires uninterrupted focus; thoroughly developing and questioning assumptions; synthesizing all of the data, information and knowledge that’s incessantly coming your way; connecting dots, bouncing ideas off of trusted colleagues; and iterating through multiple scenarios. In other words, it takes time. And that time will only be available if you carve it out for yourself.”
What could you achieve by taking some breaks?