Standing Still to Move Forward
My son and I went swimming recently in the Columbia River. We live in Portland, Oregon, and there is a beautiful, not too busy beach about 30 minutes from our house. The sand is fairly smooth and while the water isn’t particularly warm, it was perfect on a hot day like this one was.
Last summer, 2019, he and I went to community pools, a lot. One thing he got really good at was diving down for these plastic rings that I would throw to the bottom of the pool. He’d put on his goggles, jump off the side, and swim around until he picked them all up. He’d get really excited if he could get all of them in one breath. It was kind of adorable.
With all of the local pools closed, we haven’t been able to do that this summer. So, he wanted to try it in the river. Now, if you’ve ever gone swimming in a river or lake, you know it’s not ideal for diving. The water is a bit murky, and the more you move around, the worse it gets as you stir everything up.
On this particular day, we were diving for these little plastic jewels. I’d throw them out in the water from shore, and he’d run out and try to dive down and find them.
What became increasingly frustrating for, well, both of us, was that the more he thrashed around in the water, the more sand he stirred up and the harder it was to see – even with goggles – the bottom where the jewels lay. But, if we stood still for just a minute or two, the sand and silt would settle, the water would clear, and the little jewels would reflect the sunlight and practically jump out of the water.
I couldn’t get my son’s 7-year-old brain to understand that in order to achieve his goal, he needed to stand still, be patient, and let the jewels show themselves to him.
It got me thinking…I wonder how many of us feel like this right now? We’re so desperate to make progress in any given area of life – personally, professionally, emotionally, physically, you name it, that we’re trying to force something to happen in less than ideal conditions.
Letting it Settle
Perhaps what we all need right now is to stand still and wait for the proverbial river sand to settle, so we can have a clearer picture of what it is we’re after.
I don’t know what this looks like for you. Maybe you feel like you’ve been standing still waiting for things to become clear for months now. But I wonder, at least for myself, if I am able to stand still and pay attention to what is going on around me, listen to myself, and to others, what new insights might I stumble upon about how I am to move forward?
I don’t have an answer to this, but on a personal level, every night for the next 30 days, I’m committing to writing down three things I’m grateful for that happened that day. This can slowly help me start to be more grateful for the things I have, and the experiences I’ve been through, rather than always trying to search for something that may be out of reach. If you do something like this with your team, it can set you up for the last quarter of 2020.
How to Stand Still
I also asked our team about this, and here are a few suggestions I received:
- Do yoga or go for a walk instead of something more intense (like running or weights)
- Wake up an hour early to read a book for fun – make sure you put your phone in do not disturb mode!
- Put a date night with friends or your partner on the calendar, turn off all electronics and simply enjoy a meal together
- Book a day away with loved ones – somewhere fairly local and safe where you can remain socially distanced – Be intentional about the time away. DON’T bring work!
- Block yourself out for 1-hour each day to go outside
The idea is to slow down, pay attention, and see what happens.
Practically, Leadership Vision is doing this with the podcast. We’ve pre-recorded a handful of short episodes and for the next month or so, we’ll sharing simple short Strengths questions to help you reflect on your Strengths in a new
While you’re doing that, we’ll be working on new episodes that will help all of us finish 2020 with all the hope and optimism that we started it with back in January.
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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