#026 - THREE Rs that everybody needs these days: Rest, Recharge, and Restart. We aren't machines. Even machines need some downtime now and then - for maintenance, for repairs, for refueling. And so do we! Join your host, Dr. Charles Boyer, for some ways to make Rest, Recharge, and Restart an important part of your leadership journey.
Hello and welcome to Keys For New Leaders, a podcast Serving Leaders Serving Others. This is your host, Dr. Charles Boyer, but my friends call me Charlie, and that’s most certainly YOU, my friend. If you are a new or newer leader, or are joining this podcast for the first time, a special welcome to you. And, if you are a returning listener, a very warm welcome back! I’m so glad you’re here for this episode. If you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to click on the subscribe button on your audio platform, and you’ll receive notices of future episodes as soon as they are published.
Serving Leaders Serving Others is what we’re all about. In this series of podcasts, my goal is to serve you, the leader, helping you serve others through sharing ideas, helpful hints, suggestions, inspiration, insights, encouragement and sometimes a laugh or two to lighten the load along the way.
This is Episode #26, focusing on those all-important Three Rs. No, not the ones we learned about in school, but the Three Rs that everybody must have, especially these days. And those Three Rs are: Rest, Recharge, and Restart. We ALL need them, but especially YOU, my friend, the leader who serves others. American novelist Anne Lamott wrote that “…almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Oh, how we need to follow that advice.
For too long, many of us have ignored our need for those Three Rs. In these times of instant-on everything, remote work, social media, cell phones, breathless breaking news reports and the near-constant bombardment of noise that fills our days, we forget to unplug ourselves and just BE for a few precious minutes. We need that. We aren’t machines. Even machines need some downtime now and then - for maintenance, for repairs, for refueling. And so do we!
Unplug. It’s so simple, yet it really does work. When my Internet or cable TV goes down, what’s the first thing the company tells me when I call to report an outage? Unplug the modem and wait ten minutes. Not bad advice for a lot of things, come to think of it.
Unplug. You can’t do it all yourself, and maybe you shouldn’t try to. It’s been pointed out many times that multitasking really doesn’t work. Multitasking really means that you are trying to do several things at a time just so-so, rather than doing one thing at a time really well. The old expression about burning the candle at both ends may be old, but it isn’t outdated at all. Somewhere along the line, we’ve confused “being busy” with “being productive.” Working harder isn’t the same as working smarter.
Unplug. We have wonderful ways to keep in touch these days. Imagine – the cell phone you carry with you all the time puts you in touch with people, with businesses, with sources of information, with roadmaps, with your favorite tunes, movies, TV shows, and on and on. The downside of that is that we have become addicted to the doggone things. And people seem to feel the need to be on the phone all the time, talking or texting or just fiddling around while driving, while shopping, while doing most anything, it seems. Try this one: ask your kids or grandkids to turn off their phone and wait ten minutes. I’ll bet it will seem like an eternity to them! And how about you? How would those ten unplugged minutes seem to you?
Unplug. It’s really about Self-Care, my friend. You won’t be effective at serving others as a leader if you don’t take care of yourself. Remember those instructions from flight attendants that are a part of every departure message: put on your own mask first. There’s a good reason for that, isn’t there? Put on your own mask first so you can then help others. Think about how that applies to other areas in your leadership journey – and in your everyday life, for that matter! Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Just remember – and practice - those all-important Three Rs: Rest, Recharge, and Restart. Let’s take a look at each of these and think about some ways we can make them a part of our lives.
REST. Just rest for awhile. We all need rest before we can Recharge and then Restart. Think of refreshing quiet, or ease or inactivity after a period of exertion or work stresses. Think of how these words sound to you: bask … kick back … relax … quiet … calm … and of course, there’s unplug. We need to rest ALL of ourselves, and that’s hard to do these days. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith identified and described seven types of rest that we all need: Physical, Mental, Sensory, Creative, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual. Let me repeat those: Physical…Rest, Mental…Rest, Sensory…Rest, Creative…Rest, Emotional…Rest, Social…Rest, Spiritual…Rest. And then, let’s think of a few ways to Rest in several of these categories.
· Physical Rest – sleeping, napping, stretching, massage
· Mental Rest – take breaks, slow down your thoughts, stay calm and quiet
· Sensory Rest – here’s that “unplug” again. Turn off the electronics. Focus on your senses. Take deep breaths
· Creative Rest – enjoy a favorite book again, listen to calming music, look at beautiful pictures
And so on. You get the idea. Think of some things that are especially meaningful to you in each category, and make it a point to find the ones that work best for you.
One of my favorites is to sit on the deck – without my phone and with a nice glass of wine – on a summer evening and just watch and listen to the sounds of night approaching – the gentle breeze rustling the leaves, the crickets chirping, maybe a gentle sprinkle of rain some nights. And then a neighbor’s noisy air conditioner kicks in. But I’ve found a good solution: ear plugs! I can’t hear the crickets, but I can’t hear the air conditioner either. I’ll take it! Quiet is restored once again, and I can enjoy watching darkness fall. It’s quiet and so very restful, and I really enjoy these special moments.
RECHARGE. Once we are well Rested, it’s time to think Recharge. We need to Recharge ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Some ways to Recharge physically are to get enough sleep, regular rest, gentle stretches, take deep breaths, get some good exercise, eat healthy foods. What other ways have you found that help you to Recharge physically? Everyone is different. Find what works best for you.
Recharging mentally is every bit as important as Recharging physically. If we are mentally exhausted, we first need to Rest, then begin to Recharge. If your inner gremlins are telling you that you can’t or you aren’t good enough, UNPLUG! You must focus all the more on the positive side of things. Do something fun, just because it's fun. Make a list of things you are good at and things you’ve accomplished that you are proud of. Spend time with good friends and family who are positive and supportive people, and avoid the energy vampires! Turn off the electronics and take a walk in the fresh air and sunshine. On a clear day, watch a sunrise or sunset. Play frisbee with the dog. Pet the cat – now that is very relaxing! Smile a lot. Laugh a lot. Enjoy just being you.
A spiritual Recharge is equally important with physical and mental Recharge. We can talk about them separately, but really they all work together, don’t they? You can’t Recharge one without the others. The difference, if there is any, is that a spiritual Recharge involves a different set of muscles than physical or mental muscles. And a spiritual Recharge requires a different sort of commitment from you – a commitment of your time and energy and – well – of ALL of you. Here are a few ways others have suggested to help you with your spiritual Recharge:
· Schedule spiritual time for yourself and stick to it. Make time to stop, be still and know deep down inside you that you are loved. Schedule time to unplug and just BE.
· Give of yourself, not just your money. Volunteer at a hospital, nursing home, pet shelter, a community project. Give back some of what you have been given. Serving others helps you develop compassion and gratitude.
· Meditate. Pray. Give thanks for all you have, whatever that is. If you are listening to this podcast, no matter where you are in the world, know that you have so much more than many, many others.
· Journal your gratitude. Write down what you are most grateful for, and add to it as much as you can, whenever you can. You’ll be surprised how your list will grow – and so will your feelings of gratitude! I remember the words to an old song by comedian Milton Berle and songwriter Buddy Arnold:
“Lucky, Lucky, Lucky me, I’m a lucky son-of-a-gun, I work eight hours, I sleep eight hours, that leaves eight hours for fun.” Not a bad life balance, is it?
These are just a few examples. I know you will come up with many more that are just right for you.
RESTART. After Resting and Recharging, then we can begin to Restart. One definition of Restart is Resume – and that one needs some careful thought, in my opinion. That raises a red flag for me. If we just Resume what we were doing before in the same way, we can quickly undo all the good progress we’ve made with Rest and Recharge. As we Restart, there is a tendency to Resume just what we’ve been doing before and in the same way. To me, that says that Resume equals being in a Rut. I like the definition of Restart that says Renew. It’s looking at Restart in a different way that says, “How can we do this better?” rather than the same-old, same-old. Restart with a resolve to Self-Reboot that includes better Self-Care, that includes the physical, mental and spiritual Recharge, and the Rest that is such a crucial part of your own Self-Care. Restart with Renewal in mind. Rest. Recharge. Restart. You can do it. After all, you are worth it!
Here are three questions for you to think about and answer on your own. There aren’t any right or wrong answers – these are just for you to think about and answer for yourself. Here they are:
1. What is one way you have found to get really good rest?
2. What will it take for you to unplug from all electronics for at least ten minutes every day?
3. What is one good way you will use to Rest? To Recharge? To Restart?
And now for that Special Key – there isn’t any Key of R that I know of. Let’s call this one the Key of C for Care – your self-Care, your Care for others, and also the Key of G for Gratitude. Thanks for being YOU!
This episode has been about Three Rs of Rest, Recharge, and Restart. Next time, we’ll talk about the Three Bones that every good leader must have: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funnybone. I wish I had thought of that first, but I’m paraphrasing a quote from – of all people - country music singer Reba McEntire. I’m looking forward to getting together with you then for some good thoughts, good times, and maybe a good laugh or two.
Until our next time together, stay safe and well, my friend, and remember to unplug for a few minutes each day so you can practice your Three Rs.