Ambitious leaders--executives, entrepreneurs, and other motivated individuals--often get caught in a vicious daily routine.
Their exhausting day is full of engagements and decisions that demand immense focus and attention. And no matter how well conditioned their minds, it always leads to the same place--energetic depletion.
Because when each day is a sprint and each quarter is a marathon, passionate individuals are trapped in an unsustainable race against time. There's only so much you can take. Drinking from a hose can only continue for so long before your body requires a break and your mind requires oxygen.
When that pause and fresh air doesn't come, interesting things start to happen.
The needs of loved ones become an annoyance, obligation, or inconvenience. The requests of friends become one more thing on your to-do list. And your personal down time is transformed into brief moments of excess to distract yourself from the pain and suffering of living an over-stimulated life.
That's not okay.
Not only does that path lead to toxicity in your mind, body, and spirit, but it removes you from what matters most: valuable connections with others that aren't built on monetary transactions, favors, and future returns.
Further, staying in that state too long also removes you from yourself--creating a divorce between your thoughts and feelings to such an extent that your thoughts are always calculated, your emotions are always "fine," and yet you feel the weight of immense stress and pressure.
That's not okay.
And the problem becomes magnified when you aren't aware of the stress you carry. Often, you don't even notice the overwhelming weight of the pressure you carry until you step away and re-discover what it's like to release your 100lbs of emotional baggage. And that's the problem--whether you notice it or not, you're constantly being influenced by the demands of your lifestyle.
And that changes you.
It removes you from your purpose. Distracts you from your passion. Divorces you from your creativity. And prevents you from feeling the happiness and fulfillment that should come from achieving such incredible success.
So, what can you do?
You don't want to quit--there's something about this immense challenge that keeps your blood pumping. Something about the adrenaline and feeling of power you taste when doing things most other people can't. And taking breaks is difficult because it means saying no to additional opportunities and, again, feels like a waste of your most valuable asset--time.
But that's where you're wrong.
When you're in hyperdrive, hills look like mountains because your mind is like a balloon that, at any moment, is about to pop.
Contrary to what you think, the best thing you can do is take a break. And more specifically, spend time away from the chaos of modern living by being immersed in nature.
Because when you are surrounded by nature, something amazing happens: you discover something larger than yourself--something more profound than your problems, something more significant than your schedule, and something that can teach you how to relax.
Nature is sacred. When you encounter it's majesty, it transforms your mindset.
Have you ever spent a few days laying on sand, looking at the ocean, and hearing the sound of crashing waves?
Have you ever spent a few days in the crisp, clean mountain air looking at magnificent pine trees and calm mirror-like lakes?
Nature is imbued with wisdom and it has much to share.
When you spend time away from humanity and in relationship with that which is beyond human suffering, your problems seem much smaller. You stop perceiving the requests of friends and family members as items on your to-do list and start understanding what they really are--a desire for connection.
You stop looking at trees and start seeing the forest--understanding that no matter how demanding your daily life is, it is nothing short of a blessing for which you should be profoundly grateful. Not everyone has the opportunity to do what you do, and even less have people in their lives to share it with.
You stop feeling the chaos of a leaf encountering a constant, thrashing breeze and start feeling the calm, grounded support of deep, nurturing roots. You remember to breathe with relaxed shoulders. And you remember what it's like to simply bein the present moment, free of the demand to doanything.
Over time, nature teaches you that there are more important things in life than work. That even your lifetime is but one wave emerging from the deep, moving towards and finally crashing into the shore, before returning to its source.
When you encounter that kind of wisdom, serenity, and peacefulness it grounds you and helps you reconnect with parts of yourself that have been left behind in your pursuit of success.
You re-discover your creativity. Effortlessly find your flow. And reconnect with the love and happiness that connects all things.
Paradoxically, it is this disconnection from work that leads to the re-generation of your passion, which dramatically improves your performance at work.
As with most things in life, the key is to hold the tension between opposites and discover a greater sense of balance that will fuel a meaningful existence.
Nature helps you do that.
So do yourself a favor and schedule time to disconnect from work. Reconnecting with yourself through nature will make you a better professional, and most importantly, a more loving and compassionate person.