Today I went on a hike, alone. Yes, without eight little arms and eight little legs surrounding me that go either too fast or too slow. It was glorious. The last time I went on a solo walk was likely 10+ years ago. Sure, I exercise, but that’s typically 3x a week (at best) in a 60-minute Shred415 class where we all hunker down and focus on getting through the 9% incline jog and endless burpees.
My hike started with earbuds in and a new podcast on. It was The Ziglar Show (inspirational topics for sales and marketing professionals). I got about six-minutes in and realized I was in COVID-19 sensory overload. The theme was how to shift your marketing messages during a global health pandemic. I could feel my anxiety levels rise as I listened to the first few minutes. It’s hard to escape what is going on in the world today – between depressing news coverage, heart-wrenching stories of friends/colleagues losing loved ones, new economic hardships released every hour, TP hoarding that continues…..it is easy to feel there is no end in sight when it comes to this dangerous virus. As I turned the corner, I looked up and saw the majestic Rockies. They really are breathtaking – well they are to this Midwest, flat land born and raised Michigander now turned Coloradan. I decided to shut off the podcast and enjoy the hike in silence. Step away from reality for a bit and focus on the beauty in front of me.
Colorado has a desert-like terrain and I’ve been known to call it the land of the great brown dust bowl. Today I looked past all the brown. I saw regrowth (fingers crossed that Spring is right around the corner), left-over dull red, Autumn foliage that was clearly not in a windy path and an old windmill. A couple passed me on the trail, and we all smiled, waved and kept our distance. It was a nice reminder that not even a health pandemic can disrupt the beauty and stillness of nature. The stillness I experienced is just what I needed to experience.
Trying to navigate a new-normal is something we are all going through right now. I am sure this new norm will pass, but for now making adjustments is needed. Adjustments of all kinds. Many are adjusting to how they will make ends meet given their financial means were shut off, overnight, due to the mandatory business and school closures. Others are trying to figure out how to teach their children in an environment that is new and challenging. Those of us that are still fortunate to be employed are trying to figure out what is the right market message to share to keep the lights on and protect the families that count on us as leaders. The pressure of navigating uncharted waters has never been higher. What can we do? Be still and know.
Be still and know that sometimes we need to do less to achieve more. I find that when I slow down and get reality checks from mentors, friends, family, colleagues or nature – the answers to my questions tend to surface. Today’s walk in nature served as a reminder to focus on what I can control and let go of the things I cannot. This week I had a dear colleague tell me that I was taking on too much. Too much at work and too much at home. In order to get better results, it is best to do less but do it better. How powerful is this? My team may make more long-lasting relationships if they focus on less prospects but personalize the messages to a select few. My child may learn more if we spend more time on two of his eLearning assignments and pass on the other three.
The phrase Be Still and Know has always been a favorite of mine. I first learned of it from a Sunday School Teacher at Chapel Hill Missionary Church (thanks Jimmie!). It is important to make time for meditation, prayer, reflection – whatever you like to call it, because I firmly believe that when we are being still that is when we reach our highest peaks.