Some people are natural-born leaders. When they speak, everyone listens. When they’re on a project, everything tends to get done well. When everyone else is satisfied with a 6 or 7 on the “push-o-meter”, they’re always taking their game to 11. When the rest of us may sense the need to finally see our kids, eat a meal, or even (heaven forbid) bathe, they’re back at it, grinding away into the next morning on their baby. If they even get sleep, they tuck themselves in at night beneath a warm blanket of pressure. They’re always looking to improve, always working hard, always responding to silly emails even on Sundays at 2:47 a.m.
It seems like this pace is just normal for them. They thrive off their thirst for perfection. They’re addicted to hustle. They have a superior work ethic, or perhaps, they’re one of the few who have turned a passion into their job so that it doesn’t really feel like work.
“It comes with the territory,” he might say to a friend.
She might think to herself, “That’s how I stay ahead of the other guy.”
“That’s just the way my life is always going to be as a business owner.”
Maybe. Maybe a good leader has these qualities and truly can’t ever escape all the work and the constant pressure. Maybe a good leader is always trying to be one step ahead of the pack. Maybe a good leader is always pushing hard so they can feel like they’re making a difference every single day. Maybe that’s a part of the equation. Maybe.
A really great leader, however, is one who can incorporate some chill time into his or her routine.
When leaders take the time to chill and do something that’s completely out of their normal routine, they’re allowing themselves to be inspired, even if it’s from unexpected sources. Chill time gives leaders a deeper well to draw from, especially when it’s rooted in new experiences. Leaders should make a habit out of deliberately derailing their routine. It keeps their minds fresh and their wits sharp. It jars their spirit and prevents their body from some serious stress-inflicted decay.
No, I’m not talking about a vacation. Vacations don’t really happen for these people. Trust me. They’ll find a way to work on their “vacations” because they don’t really enjoy vacations. That’s the problem – this isn’t something they’re necessarily “supposed to enjoy.”
Chill time is severely misunderstood. It’s not simply slacking off, resting, taking a break, or going out of town with the family. Chill time doesn’t mean being unproductive. Chill time doesn’t even mean you aren’t working. It just means you are deliberately taking the time to DO SOMETHING ELSE.
- Go to a hockey game.
- For once, read a book that has nothing to do with your business.
- Listen to Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances or Merzbow or some random Russian hip hop.
- Take your kids (or someone else’s) to fly a kite without any wind.
- Block out an entire Sunday to watch a bunch of movies you’ve never seen and don’t particularly want to…just because.
- Try some new food, even if you think you won’t like it.
Explore something uncomfortable!
- Go randomly tell someone you really respect and admire that you appreciate them.
- Have a conversation about politics with someone you know you disagree with.
- Confront your own emotions.
- Go look at old pictures or notes or high school yearbooks, and embrace all of those awful memories.
- Tell someone something you can’t stand about yourself.
- Talk about God.
Seems out of place — exactly. Seems kind of strange or unnecessary — yes and yes. Seems like of a “waste of time,” right? Far from it.
How do you chill?