Let the Light Shine In

Last weekend was a holiday in the U.S.

I took a couple of days off — aka mental health days; that’s what vacation days really are.

In the marathon of our lives, they are the walk part of the run. Or I suppose, for some, they are the run part—and the rest of life is the walk. That is likely to be the exception.

During my vacation days, I wasn’t doing nothing. I did what I often do. I alight from one pile of books to another, hummingbird-like, drawing the nectar of new learning.

Which means I gave myself time to wander, as pal Angela Blanchard advised after reading the newsletter, It’s Okay to be Done, “Wander and wonder. Give yourself periods where nothing can be considered a waste of time. To allow curiosity to drive what we click on, read and discuss.” I finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Witch of Winter by Katherine Arden, started How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, 168 by Harry Kraemer, and continued Personality Isn’t Permanent by Ben Hardy. The wandering and wondering was glorious.

The downtime intersected with our podcast guest, Ryan Gottfredson. You may remember him from a live coaching episode about a year and a half ago. He talks about four different mindsets. Some of these are more familiar to us than others, like growth vs. fixed mindsets; others are perhaps less so, such as open vs. closed. This is the one that’s piquing my interest. It’s possible to believe we can change and grow while still having a closed mindset. Not because we are willfully arrogant, but because the problem is solved, our brain has moved onto chunking. We’re done.

And yet, the more tightly scheduled, the more booked we are, the less likely we are to be open-minded. There’s too little space to possibly consider a new idea. No luxury to do so. There is no room for the very idea that could lead us to develop a fulfilling new relationship or articulate a groundbreaking idea.

So here’s what I’m trying to do––

Build time into life not only for vacation days, but also build slack into every day; it’s the open mind that lets in new and brilliant light. Make a schedule but leave breathing room. If you schedule a meeting every hour, hold each to 45 minutes so there’s 15 minutes in between. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes for getting ready in the morning so you can be mentally relaxed. If you need 1 1/2 hours for a project, schedule two, so that whatever serendipitous moment arises, you can enjoy it.

Open mindset = Open for disruption.

As always, thanks for being here.

My best,

P.S. After last week’s newsletter about routine and being done, a member of our newsletter tribe, Gary Gruber, shared this.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.”––Annie Dillard

P.P.S. Beginning in September, we are launching a membership cohort that will include weekly instruction, facilitated and peer-to-peer coaching––––right now we are running a beta test–––we had our first one yesterday. It was productive and fun! If you’d like to be on the waiting list, sign up here.

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