Your Land of Insight
It is a question that has seemed to come out of nowhere. A question that in our younger days would have been nearly non existent, or at least not have been so clear and certainly less persistent.
“Am I enough?”
As a leader.
As a partner.
As a parent.
As a citizen.
And all signs in the world around you would seem to provide proof that whatever that ‘enough’ is, you are definitely not there yet. And you damn well better do something about it.
Examining where we are in our lives/careers/leadership is a profound opportunity, and one of the gifts of the pandemic is that more people have been invited to do just that.
In my experience, the most valuable insights around feeling like you are enough exist in the realm of doing less, not more.
I get it - how could we consider doing less, when we are not even keeping up with what we are doing now?! And I’m certainly not suggesting that you walk out on your team or family or other commitments to sit in the lotus position under a tree for the rest of your life. But there is space in between the times that we are dedicating to what is important to us that is unclaimed real estate - let’s call it the Land of Insights. Our modern tendency is to convince ourselves (and each other) that every square inch of that real estate needs to be claimed, developed, and made productive, as if our great metropolises should be the models for our lives. And it makes us sick - overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, and on an endless treadmill of never enoughness.
But if you’ve ever paid attention to a piece of land that is left alone for while, some pretty amazing things can happen. And this is true for each of us and our own Land of Insights. If you leave open spaces in your life, the flowers of your intuition will spring through the cracks in the asphalt. The vines of your curiosity will wrap around telephone poles reaching for the clouds. Ecosystems of ideas will form into a self sustaining richness. We owe it to ourselves to leave space in our lives for not doing.
What does this look like in practice? It doesn’t look like creating another To Do list. In fact, one interesting result of the work I have been doing with a client on this was him creating a Not To Do list. Thanks to what we have been doing to help him slow down in his life a bit over the past several months, he has had the insight that having such a task focused ‘do’ orientation has actually inhibited his intuition and ability to think big picture and creatively. He’s getting clear on what not to do so he doesn’t continue to make that mistake.
Start by identifying the opportunities to create space. Where are you trying to fill every gap in time? And this does not have to only be work related by the way. “I have an extra 30 min tonight so I can fill it with Netflix/drinking/fill in the blank” can be its own way of making sure you have things to do and will likely not take you to the Land of Insight.
Stop the comparison game. Who gives a shit what so and so might be up to right now that you are falling behind on? What the gurus on LinkedIn are telling you should be doing RIGHT NOW? What it means to your rating as a leader/partner/parent if you don’t prioritize the time of others over yourself some space? Yes, we all want to be the best version of ourselves, but always making that in reference to others can be emotionally painful and is a losing game.
Try some intentional nothing time. A daydream walk - no podcast, no fitness, no destination, no purpose other than to be outside and be with your wandering thoughts. Sit in front of a tree and look at it - get over what that may look like to others and just see what it's like to share space with a tree. Disconnect to reconnect - spend one day a week or month where you challenge yourself to disconnect from all devices and networks and be as unproductive as you can be, if nothing else to notice just how strong the urge to be always connected and to ‘do’ has become in your life.
What you’ll notice as you get into these practices and spend more time in your Land of Insight is that things start popping up for you that are surprising. New approaches to solving problems that you had never considered. A strengthened connection to intuitive actions that makes navigating your day to day easier and more enjoyable. People around you remarking that there is something different about you and ask you about it. And that question of being enough? It doesn’t go away of course, but there will be space for you to answer it a lot more generously and compassionately than when you barely have time in your day to breathe, which will have a huge payoff in all parts of your life.
In my individual coaching program, I work with mid-life, mid to high level leaders who feel they have plateaued in their work and are ready for their next adventure. We spend six months creating the bold and adventurous future they want for themselves through different deep examinations that include slowing down, moving from mind to heart, and letting go of ways of being that no longer serve them.
I have a group leadership program specifically for men in Japan starting soon as well that combines coaching and outdoor adventure in beautiful Minakami, Gunma. Both programs are in the range of ¥500K-¥1M ($5K-$10K USD).
Feel free to DM me for more information to see whether we’d be a good fit.