Anyone who knows me understands that summer is “my season”. I love the warmth, the long days, the colorful flowers and lavish green trees, the flittering monarch butterflies and joyful songbirds, and just getting the opportunity to be outdoors more. One of my new favorite parts of summer is going out on my SUP (stand-up paddleboard). It’s a purple inflatable board whom I’ve lovingly named “Prince” (for the late, great Purple Master himself). Being out on Prince is such a relaxing experience, and when I’m out on the reservoir or lake by myself, I find that I can use the time on my board to expand my thinking.
How often do we get the time to really get quiet and think? We all need that time – not only to consider everything going on in our lives, but to get clear about our future steps. This is even more important if you’re a small business owner or the director of a busy department within a company. Sometimes the demands of everyday business can leave us moving from one task to the next, putting out one fire after the other, and it’s no wonder we feel burned out by the end of the week, ready to collapse for the weekend instead of allowing ourselves to enjoy it.
For me, getting out on Prince puts me into a completely different state of mind. I go from my “processing” state to my “feeling” state. I get out of my head. I stop trying to be logical about things and just take in everything that’s around me. As I balance on my board, gliding on top of the water, watching the water ripple and fan out with each stroke of my paddle, I feel free – like anything is possible. I find this is the perfect state for me to ponder some of the bigger picture things that I want to address with my business. I also can work out ideas as they relate to my clients’ marketing plans – coming up with new and outside-the-box ideas. Again, it’s different from being in a processing state because it feels more expansive, which is the best place to be when you are looking for answers.
As we sit in the middle of July, now is a perfect time to not only find your summer “thing” – whether it’s hiking, canoeing, fishing, biking, going on a road trip, or something else – but to think about what you want the rest of the year to look like. As you engage in your summer “thing”, try using a meditation technique I’ve recently learned, which is to “drop a question” into your mind. The question is posed in the 3rd person (like someone is asking you) so as not to force you to think too logically about it, but instead, come to the possibilities from a place of openness. Questions related to the 2nd half of your year could be something like these:
What goals did you set at the beginning of the year that haven’t yet been met?
Are they still worth pursuing?
If so, what actions might you need to take in the coming months to make some progress towards them?
If not, are you OK letting them go or putting them in a “parking lot” until another time?
Are you doing what you love, being authentic, fostering your talents, using your skills?
If not, what would your days look like if you were doing those things?
What might you need to tweak in order to bring more of those opportunities into your life?
If nothing else, the answers (or lack of answers) will put you into a feeling state, where you can continue to nurture your thoughts around them. While I initially thought it was an indulgence for me to be out on Prince, taking it all in, I soon came to realize that it is a necessity. It’s not only good for me, but for my team, my clients, my family, and my business. It allows me to be more expansive about my thinking, so that I don’t stagnate. I realize that when the winter months come upon us, I’ll need a substitute for going out on Prince so I can maintain this expansive process. Until then, perhaps I’ll see you out on the lake!