I took a four day road trip to nowhere, or Scotland actually. Me and my car, nothing else. No work or staff. No strategy. No justifications or rationales or explanations or ramifications. Just one mile, then another. The only decisions were where to stop for fuel, food, sleep, coffee – whenever and wherever I wanted. No words. No radio. No music. No plans. No goals. Nothing. When I got back I was happy and whole again.
It’s possible to try so hard, for so long, and get so tired, that you wear yourself out and have to … stop. Everything.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard, push, fully commit, go all-in, swim the Channel if you want to. Just remember to raise your head and take a break, check you’re still moving in the right direction and that you’re not getting in your own way. It’s ok to hold on to the boat.
Total burnout is a risk but pretty rare. But brown-outs happen all the time – when we’re not shining as brightly as we’d like and everything’s suffering in the gloom. Whenever I feel it, and sleeping doesn’t help, I start looking for a hole in my calendar when I can dump all my responsibilities and the only thing I care about pushing is a pedal.
Skippy strategy: How would it feel to take a break from yourself and your responsibilities? If it sounds good, whichever way you can make it happen, do it.
First published 5th February 2015
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