“Taking a step back can be the quickest way forward.” Tim Farho
THE decision to take a step back may seem counterproductive and far removed for most of us in the West, where our society demands everything to be fast, now and on the go.
However, contrary to popular belief, moving fast does not always result in moving forward. In fact, most times we are very much like the hamster on the wheel, running at top speed but going nowhere.
The decision to take a step back, to simply catch your breath, quiet the mental noise, re-assess and re-evaluate, before charging ahead is more productive and beneficial than you might think.
A step back helps you to think clearer, re-charge, re-focus, gain clarity, make new and better decisions, come up with fresh ideas and solutions, rebuild energy levels, motivation and inspiration.
Taking a step back is a habitual practice I started about 8 years ago, when I assumed a management role in a company I previously worked with.
This habit was formed almost out of necessity, as I jumped on board the hamster wheel in my new role, which resulted in me being burnt out, frustrated, ineffective and roving fast but going nowhere.
Instinctively, I began taking time away from the office and literally pulled away from everyone and everything to just be still, to regroup and refocus. The result of this practice was, being more calm, focused, energized, present and believe it or not more creative and productive.
After one of my ‘stepping back’ therapeutic days, I remember being inspired to create a strategic document for the company. While drafting the document, it felt as if the words were effortlessly pouring out of me. When I presented it to my team, they were all blown away, going as far as to ask whether someone else had written the document. Go figure. That day re-iterated just how important taking a step back was to being more creative, productive and effective in moving forward.
A couple weeks ago, a client shared how burnt out, flustered and unproductive she felt. Immediately, I suggested my good ole fashion, ‘Take a Step Back Remedy’. And it was only a few days ago, she reported how amazing she was feeling because of the practice. She shared how peaceful, calm and collective she felt and finally got her ‘mojo’ back, all from taking a step back.
The practice of taking a step back can and will do wonders for your entire life. Here are 4 ways I practice taking a step back from my business and everyday activities, which I hope will help you as much as it has helped me:
1. Spend time in silence- Unplug from the phone, the tablet, the computer and the television or anything or anyone that usually occupies your attention. Spend this time by yourself just being still and tuning into yourself.
2. Meditation- Spend quality time daily quieting your mind from all the noise and clutter that the mind is usually preoccupied with. Meditation is an ancient practice that has proven to help people be more centered and effective in all spheres of life.
3. Take a day or two off – There are 7 days in the week and sometimes we may feel compelled to work all 7 days, which is counterproductive and leads to us going nowhere fast. Our bodies need regular breaks to replenish and reboot.
Our bodies can be compared to a computer. When we fail to regularly shut down a computer, it gets slow, sluggish and frustratingly ineffective. Your body and mind operates in a similar fashion. Take a day or two to reboot.
4. Spend time in nature or outdoors- It is scientifically proven that spending more time outdoors, in nature, among trees and animals is better for us than spending all of our time trapped indoors. Plants and animals permeate positive energies which can positively affect our physiology. Make it a regular practice to go outside, sit on a park bench or take simply take a walk.
My challenge to you is to take a step back. Try it for a few weeks and observe your experience. I guarantee that you will feel refreshed, renewed and recharged to move ferociously forward.