#ShowingUp with Anese Cavanaugh

Sometimes a breath, a decision, and a stand is all you need to do to get back to you.

I've been on a special type of sabbatical for the last 2 months, a "formal reboot" of sorts. A ton has happened. My assistant of 9 years passed away; we took apart my business and put it back together again; we reorganized the team, our systems, our processes, and many of our offerings; and I worked out, hiked, and wine tasted -- a lot.

I've been on a special type of sabbatical for the last 2 months, a "formal reboot" of sorts. A ton has happened. My assistant of 9 years passed away; we took apart my business and put it back together again; we reorganized the team, our systems, our processes, and many of our offerings; and I worked out, hiked, and wine tasted -- a lot.

This all started because I realized that after 15 years of leading my business, I hadn't taken more than 10 days off in a row. I've never been a good "lay on the beach and drink pina coladas while you do nothing for 2 weeks" kind of girl. I'm more a grab 3 and 4-day sprints; hike, write, and sure lay on that beach with something yummy to drink, but not for more than a bit (and please laptop or journal be handy cuz thoughts will come and ideas will flow and if I don't have you nearby, it will bug me).

But this time, things felt different. The book has been growing and reaching more people, our train-the-trainer programs have been growing, this work in general has been growing, my kids have been growing, life has been growing, and me -- I've been growing too. And in the shuffle of it all, I could hear a quiet voice that said, "Shh...take a step back, breathe, check it all out, and lead from there".

So I did.

I took 60 days "off" -- which meant 60 days with little on my formal schedule and instead time to write, work on programs and infrastructure, work with my team, and re-assess - rewiring my own personal system and the way we work.

The fruits of the "adjusted" labor will unfold over the rest of the year and into 2018, and in the meantime, here are some things I thought might be useful to share. None of these require a "sabbatical", they simply require a breath, a decision, a stand, and yes, maybe some white space to use that big beautiful brain, heart, and spirit of yours.

  1. Breathe. One thing I am tenderly aware of is how busy we all are. If you've followed me for even 30 minutes, you know how I feel about "busy" and here's what I'm seeing... even if we're getting better at navigating and re-framing busy -- in many realms it is getting bigger and badder. Not being able to stay clear, feeling overwhelmed, not following through, feeling stuck in innovation, a simple low grade fever of "agitation" running in the background... these can all be signs that "busy" is running the show. So breathe. Step back. And look at what's actually here. (It is often not as much as your brain - or ego - would like you to think.)
  2. Assess. The brain and your story might have you believe that you are so busy you can't see straight. It may loop your busy story over and over again. It's your job to break the loop. So this is the moment to stand back, partner with your brain, and assess what's really going on. Get it all on paper: your to do's, your real areas of focus deserving your attention, the things you've had on your "get'er done" list for the last 6 months. Look at what truly needs to be focused on. Drop any story around it. Tune into your intuition and wisdom and decide where to put your energy, attention, and focus from there.
  3. Reframe. Once you're clear on what you truly need to be giving your attention to, reframe it until it feels like magic. I had some mindset shifting to do over the last 60 days. My "sabbatical" in many ways has been some of the hardest work I've ever done. Working on infrastructure and analysis and anything that didn't have me writing, making, being on stage, or working with people, frustrated me. But it was essential. My first reframe was to look at "infrastructure" as the skeleton and muscles of the body of the business that would help us run faster, jump higher, stand stronger, and be ready for more as our work grows. That still had a hint of resistance for me, so I moved into the frame that the infrastructure would serve our team better, giving us all guardrails and support to do our best work together. Okay, better. Finally, the frame that opened up a lot for me was to hold infrastructure as sacred... a "grail" of sorts to serve the work, my team, my kids, our clients, and everyone who comes into our orbit. This frame, along with surrendering to the process and being coached in it, shifted my relationship with "infrastructure" significantly. By the way, don't do this alone -- that last step of reframing came only with the help of a trusted and brilliant friend, coach, and colleague who could see this all way more clearly than I could.
  4. Decide. You've caught your breath, assessed, and reframed... now you decide to dig in and do it baby. This is simple. You decide or you don't. If it's really important, get in there.
  5. Stand. After the decision comes the stand. The stand for staying the course. For your commitment to your life, work, and family, for being the leader you said you want to be, and for becoming that leader from this new space.

Get in there...

Let's go.

 

This article originally appeared on INC.com

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