Why Solitude is Important

Have you ever just craved some quiet alone time?

Little girl with a book

I have had two clients last week who brought up the issue of needing some more space and time to themselves. The hectic pace of their lives and the sheer volume of interactions with people in their own home were becoming an irritation instead of a joy. This brought up the discussion of the effect on not getting quiet time as an adult. This I understand. I was the kid who climbed up into a tree to read- so no one would bother or interrupt me. My mom understood this need for quiet time- because she pretended not to notice where I was- even with all three of the family dogs sat patiently under the tree waiting for me. Now I understand the term introvert and how well that fits me.  According to Susan Cain one our of every two or three people out of the population are considered introverts.  Cain has a TED talk and a book-Quiet- on The Power of Introverts. Yet how many quiet spaces are there in your work environment? Most of our work spaces are designed for interaction and extroverts. In a busy household with different schedules and tasks that need doing- where is the quiet conversation? If solitude is part of what matters to you- then finding the time to be quiet is important to your ability to cope with the rest of the day.

What are the benefits of solitude? Solitude allows you to unwind and rest your brain. The absence of stimulation allows your brain to slow down and stop processing information. Solitude gives you time and space to consider your own needs and choices- rather than just going along with the group. It is easier to focus and concentrate on a specific issue or project with no outside distractions. You think more deeply about a topic when you are alone. I consider solitude the antidote to too much outside stimulation. I avoid big box stores partly because of the noise, lights and general level of activity there. Am I a hermit? No. I like social settings with friends where you can talk and interact. I am not as comfortable in a loud, crowded environment where you have to talk over loud music. Solitude for me is a choice that allows be to replenish and recharge my brain, my energy and my emotional levels.  If a quiet space fits your needs- then make choices that give you that space to recharge.

  • Schedule time alone
  • Walk outside at lunch for a change of environment
  • Swimming- or exercise outside can provide solitude
  • Get up early
  • Meditate
  • Pause before you start on weekend projects- enjoy your morning coffee outside

I have found the simple solution for me is to drink one cup of tea alone in my office without doing anything else. Just sitting and doing only one thing is enough to provide a calm  start to my day. This week – be aware of where you can find moments of solitude and enjoy them for what that quiet moment gives back to you.

If you have trouble finding a calm space- contact me for more ideas.

Personal Accountability

One of the greatest myths around is that we are entitled to a meaningful, happy life filled with a successful career, supportive relationships and financial security. There is a great disappointment when we expect all of this to just happen to us. Is there any chance of living a fully integrated satisfying life in this age of chaos, uncertainty and ongoing change?
Yes, if you are willing to be 100% accountable for your actions, responses and outcomes.
No, if you blame outcomes on outside events, other people and wait for the good things to just happen to you.
No, if you keep blaming yourself for poor outcomes without making any change in your behavior or attitude.
There is a simple formula to explain accountability. Outcomes are a result of your actions and your attitudes.
Are you willing to change and take action to change your outcomes?
Start by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply being fully present in your life from moment to moment. It sounds easy, not so easy with a busy life and hectic schedule. I challenge you this week to slow down and pay attention to how you feel, what your choices are and how your actions effect your outcomes. Start small in making changes that fit your desires. Think big for getting what you want out of life.

Ideas -listen, learn and grow

If you want your life to change- consider ideas plus inspiration. That concept comes from Jim Rohn. He was a motivation speaker who used stories to create ideas and inspire other people to take action. So where do good ideas come from? First you have to listen. Listen to yourself, listen to others and be open to new information. Good ideas are everywhere if you are looking and listening. Slow down to give yourself time to think. My favorite time of day is early morning before any activity – just sitting with a cup of tea and thinking about what is planned for the day. Set your goal to learn one thing every day. Challenge your brain every day. Absorb what you learn and than apply it to your unique situation. What you focus on grows. I want to keep my brain active and growing- what about you?

Step outside of your comfort zone

Once in a while it is a good thing to be uncomfortable. I am the first to admit I like to plan ahead and do not like surprises. I am the type of person who orders the same sandwich at the local deli and likes to know the expected outcomes before I start a project.
So why do I suggest that stepping out into the great unknown is good for you? First- there is no learning if you stay within your comfortable areas of expertise. Nothing new can be learned if you do the same things over and over again. How do you know you have a fear of heights unless you get to a cliff trail and look down. How do you know if you could be a leader unless you are willing to step up into that role. When you stretch your self into new territory you will learn something about yourself that will give you new confidence. There is a surge of confidence when you attempt something difficult and new. Especially if you consider failure just a method of learning. So consider where you could step out of your comfort zone and learn something new this year. Let it be OK to be the most uncoordinated dancer in a class or the person who asks the most questions in a group discussion.

Connections- Strength or a Weakness?

When does a strength become a weakness? My connections to people- relationships is a strength.
Connections and the need to be connected can be a weakness for me. How? When I stay in a job or situation too long- because of the connection- I stay- after this situation is no longer meeting my goals or needs. I am reflecting on that now- I do some fill in work with a hospital as a physical therapist- the other staff- my co- workers are great- they make me laugh- they raise above impossible situations with grace and energy- which is energizing and fun.
Over the last few months- I have re-evaluated my goals and what is working or not- this work is taking away from my goals – and my primary business of coaching. So I have cut back my schedule- and decided not to replace this with any thing other than more coaching time. How is that working- very well- I am getting reconnected close to home- teaching a QiGong class for a local gym- which is a positive connection for coaching – and interacting with people who are invested in health and wellness. I believe that when you close one door other doors will open- and that what you focus on is where you will get growth and development. I am looking forward to new developments and opportunities that I will have the time and energy to make happen.

Connection- my motivation word

What do I want ? To spend my time doing things that I am passionate about. to have time to connect and interact with loved ones. to be healthy and fit, to support others in their quest to make life mean something. That search for meaning- I am finding more and more support for the satisfaction that comes with doing things that are meaningful- that we are motivated by interesting, purposeful activity- not just getting things done. I have personal data on that- the things that I put off are the number, paper filing support type tasks. The things that I will schedule immediately are centered around connecting with people. I can get get things done when I remember that some required activities support the more energizing activity. I think my motivation word  is connection. When things connect they make sense to me. My people connections energy me and my connection to nature sustains me.

The Power of Identity

Who are you? Who do you choose to be in the world?  What is your purpose for being?

Reflect on how your choices are influenced by your personal identity. Many of us carry labels from our past that others have given us. These labels may not be valid or accurate today. Focus your awareness on how you view yourself today. Your beliefs lead to self-perceptions that can determine your outward actions. What labels do you carry about your self?  Write a brief description of yourself as the person that you are striving to be.    Read that statement every morning while looking in a mirror. Reflect on how this exercise affects your day.  Consider how your own beliefs about yourself help you or hinder you this week?  Are there any labels you need to drop or toss out? Pay attention to your choices this week and how your actions support your choices.  What happens when you have to take an action that is out of your comfort zone?  It is only with reflection on our actions and beliefs can we make changes that support personal self development and growth. Try one new thing this week that moves you towards a personal or professional goal. 

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