By Trinnie Houghton, Executive & Organizational Coach at Sojourn Partners
About 17 years ago, I vowed never again. Never again to be on the verge of burnout. To be holding the remaining wicks of the proverbial candle between my fingertips. To experience wrenching body pains that kept me awake at night. To have things take twice as long as they should take because I was simply exhausted. But the thing was, I didn’t see it. I was 29 years old, and on my way up. Blazing a path, you might say, without being aware that it was burning me up on the inside.
Until I woke up.
I found myself on a fallow field in Maine. No electricity. No phones. I had nothing to do but go on walks. Talk. Let the sun do its thing with my freckles. Dream. Listen to the wind through the ocean bell buoys. Feel the heat of the dark gray boulders underneath my DIY pedicured feet. And feel that all was well in the world. I returned to me and was able to think differently. See trends, patterns I couldn’t see before. Create without fear. I didn’t take things so personally and was just more likeable to be around.
That’s the thing. I had to decide to stop. I had to value recalibration over the satisfaction of accomplishment. I had to see that a commitment to rest and play was the key to insight into those complexities that dogged me.
So when this Spring showed up with its demands of fabulous work, fun travel and time with family, I was surprised to find myself nearing a more “positive” burnout. What is this, I thought. Again? Recommitted, I’ve found another fallow field here in New Hampshire. One with mountain hikes and biking. And reading and tending my gardens. Listening into summer life – its layers of purposeful melodies and unapologetic splashes – and giving a shout out to my 8-year old self because she blooms here.
Finding fallow fields, I realize, is as much a commitment and a practice over time to maintaining conscious leadership. Our brains recalibrate to lead more sustainably. And somewhere along the way, we have a little fun.
To develop your practice of recalibration over the year or find out more about how to create one, join us this fall at NHBSR’s Conscious Business Leadership Program. nhbsr.org/lead