Paying Attention

Posted 01.05.2009

Happy 2009 everyone.  If you took some time off over the holidays, I hope it was a time of relaxation and renewal for you.  It was for me.   Had a great time on Christmas Eve (at the Greenbrier) and Christmas Day (at home) with my family.  A couple of days later I took a fun and whirlwind trip to New York City to see the holiday sights with my wife, Diane, and two boys and to visit with Diane’s niece, Andrea, her husband Adam and their newborn Charlotte (that’s Diane, Charlotte and Andrea in the picture).   The rest of my break was a mix of reading (Team of Rivals – great book), catching up on TiVo (Mad Men), playoff football, movies (go see Frost/Nixon – it’s fantastic) and various odd jobs around the house.

In addition to all of that, I’ve spent more time than usual in the mornings reading, meditating and journaling.   Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to during that time.    During the second half of 2008, I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have.  I won’t bore you with all the reasons why, but suffice it to say I wasn’t following the coaching advice I give my clients who share in the perennially lowest scored item on our Next Level 360 assessment:  Paces himself/herself by building in regular breaks from work.   It’s all too easy to not do this. 

Once you quit pacing yourself, you quit paying attention to all the things going on around you that are not directly connected with whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.  What I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks is that by not paying attention, I’ve been missing a lot of the good stuff.  A lot of that is personal (like chilling out with a new baby or playing video games with my boys) and, not so surprisingly, some of it is professional.  By inserting a bit more margin into my days and weeks, I’ve actually come up with some new ideas that I think will benefit my clients and readers this year.

So, I’ll make a deal with you.  If you’ll support me in pacing myself in 2009, I’ll support you in doing the same.  Let’s see what happens when we all give ourselves the space to pay a bit more attention to what’s going on in our lives and the lives of others.