I had a 2nd session with one of my exec clients today (we'll call him Bob). Our work together includes reviewing his Strengthsfinder* results.
Bob's number one strength? Achiever. Achievers have to achieve something every day to feel worthwhile. They thrive being busy and productive and are driven by achieving results.
Truth be told, I could have guessed this about him even without looking at the assessment. He is highly driven, successful and well regarded by his team.
One thing about our strengths…each one has a shadow side. What I like to call a “watch out.” For Achievers this includes finding it difficult to stop down to rest; to truly relax.
I asked Bob if this was true for him and he gave me a resounding, “Yes. My wife says, 'can’t you sit still and relax for a minute?' I say yes, then in about 2 minutes I have to get up and do something.”
I listened to him, this Achiever, tell me his story and all of a sudden it hit me…
“Bob, this may sound crazy, but hear me out…(long pause)…What if you could achieve rest?”
(very long pause) “What are you thinking right now?” I said.
“At first it sounded crazy, like you said. But now I realize you may be onto something.”
I said, “What do you think the ROI (Return on Investment) on rest would be?”
He gave me no shortage of benefits including: better health, stamina, energy, engagement, even more productivity, less frustration/shortness, better communication, relationships, etc.
We were onto something indeed.
I let him know that in addition to these many benefits, it is while resting that we have access to our best, most creative thinking. In the quiet, our vast wellspring of inner wisdom is finally able to be heard.
As we hung up the phone, he told me he thinks he will remember this distinction for the rest of his life. That he can achieve rest. That resting does not have to mean lazy. That resting reaps huge ROI.
If you can relate with Bob and err on the side of “achieving”, I encourage you to experiment with stillness. Set a timer for 5 minutes and sit still, in silence, with your eyes closed.
Practice being a human BEing instead of a human DOing.
See how it feels.
If you like it do more of it. If not, don't.
*Strengthsfinder is an assessment designed by Gallop to discern someone’s Top 5 Strengths. The basic idea is that if you know your strengths you can better leverage them in life and work.