Do you rest?
As high achievers, we pride ourselves on working hard. Being constantly connected and available has too often become an expectation.
We may have taken it too far. The Human Performance Institute focuses on the importance of managing our energy to achieve peak performance in all areas of our life. Lack of sleep impacts our health and may even shorten our life span.1]
In spite of repeated messages about getting enough sleep, taking time to nurture our souls and spending time in relationship with others, we continue with our 24/7 lifestyle. We tell ourselves that we’ll rest when things slow down. We postpone vacations or work on weekends convincing ourselves that if we don’t respond immediately, or if we let something go a day or a week, there will be some disastrous consequence.
Earlier in my career, I was going through a challenging time.
I knew I needed to get away from the intensity of daily life, so I scheduled a vacation. It was a place I could go by myself, engage with other people, get exercise and have lots of resources and activities at my disposal. I knew it would be perfect for resetting my stress odometer.
The day before I left, my boss asked me how he could reach me while I was gone. This man was not unkind, in fact he was a very compassionate man. But he felt we should be available for work issues 24/7. His personal practice was to check email in the wee hours of the morning and always be available on personal trips. You can imagine his surprise when I replied, “I’m not going to tell you how to reach me because I’d prefer not to be bothered next week. If it’s an emergency, my assistant can give you the information.” He glared at me and stomped off.
He didn’t call me all week. The world kept spinning and the business survived. I rested and came back rejuvenated and far more productive than if I had kept pushing through in my exhausted state.
Was it comfortable? No. Was I a bit fearful of the consequences? Yes. Here’s what happened: My boss respected my boundaries. A few months later, he made a comment that showed he respected me for setting those boundaries. He thought I had showed personal courage.