With twenty-five million people leaving their jobs this year, it’s more than just burnout, it’s a huge wake-up call.
For as long as I can remember, I was in a hurry. I rushed through elementary and secondary school skipping grades, flying through college in three years, earning a Master’s in my twenties and a PhD at night while teaching full time.
When I look back on those days, I was seemingly trying to beat the speed of light. I was trying to outrun time. I honestly don’t know why I was on a treadmill that wouldn’t slow down. And I kept running to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and beat the clock with accomplishments, awards, travels, friendships, books written, and creating a family. Melissa Mazmanian, Professor at UC Irvine states, “The idea of doing less is just not coded into high achieving people’s sense of self.” And so, I did more.
It actually took a global pandemic to make me stop, really stop, in a way no one, including me could have ever imagined. No one was running anywhere. I suddenly found myself with the blessing of time since there were no planes to catch, so instead, I scheduled myself on an inward journey. Suddenly, there was time for some ‘internal house cleaning’ along the lines of Marie Kondo’s Konmari … what to keep and what to discard. Running did not spark joy, so I am throwing away running. There is no point.
Imagine if we as school leaders actually stopped long enough to listen, deeply listen, to the fears, hurts, and joys of the people around us. To sit with the stress of war, a pandemic becoming endemic, and the ever-present question, “Now what? What else could possibly happen?” Just wait. It will.
Pause … Sit … Think … Breathe … Listen … Wonder … Hope … Savor … Pray
In this new world, we must engage in a long overdue rewiring. There is too much stress. There are too many external assaults on our time. There are too many things to fear. The way to address all of this is to stop, breathe, reconnect with people you love, and make sure you schedule something that simply puts a smile on your face. Relax the towering goals, the walls to scale, and the checklists to complete. It’s just not worth it.
As time flies by at warp speed and horrors take the lives of so many around us, just stop. Put the brakes on the race of ambition that we were raised to revere. It’s a new world order. Find a bench in a park and claim it. You deserve it. It is long overdue.
5 of My Favorite Books About Pausing:
“Pause: Harnessing the Life-Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break”, by Rachel O’Meara
“Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey off the Beaten Path”, by Erin Loechner
“Dreams of the Overworked”, by Beckman and Mazmanian
“Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic For a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living“, by Shauna Niequist
“Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy“, by Emily Ley
5 of My Favorite Quotes about Pausing:
“The world may feel like it’s spinning out of control, but you don’t have to. Anchor into your breath. Slow your pace so that you can remain clear.” ― Hania Khuri-Trapper
“But ultimately, we hit a wall. We realize we’re running on fumes and that while we thought we were doing the right thing; we have actually been sabotaging ourselves.” ― Emily Ley
“Are you aware that rushing toward a goal is a sublimated death wish? It’s no coincidence we call them ‘deadlines.” ― Tom Robbins
“The world may feel like it’s spinning out of control, but you don’t have to.” ― Hania Khuri-Trapp
“When you’re working at an unsustainable pace, when you feel emotionally flooded, when things are moving so fast you can’t keep up, then you need to add Stillness to your day. The goal is to take however much time you need to quiet your mind.” ― Darcy Luoma