Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Relaxation a Waste of Time?

I just returned from vacation is Maine. I stay in a somewhat remote part of Mt. Dessert Island, so cellphone and internet access isn't readily available. It always takes a couple days to get used to be disconnected; once I do, however, I really like it!

Now I've been back for a couple days, and I'm already really missing not getting 50 emails a day. And I miss the hiking, afternoon naps, and happy hours. And the views. I'm attaching a couple pictures taken in and around Acadia National Park. It's heaven to me!

Being away reminded me about how important making time for fun and relaxation is. The more I relaxed, the more focused my mind got on what's important about my life and my future. I had so many good ideas; they just seemed to flow. Normally I'm so caught up with everyday routines, that I really noticed the positive difference. I made notes about my ideas so that when I got back to my normal life, I could take action on them.

Now that I'm home, I'm amazed at the insights I had, and the good ideas. It reminds me that I need to add more of that "do nothing" time into my life.

How about you? Do you find that you are always so caught up in the agendas of other people that you don't make time to breathe deep, let alone focus on what you want and how to get it?

Leadership is about having a vision and taking your life in the direction of your vision. "Do nothing" time helps you get clear, solve problems, work out the head trash that holds you back. Yet, we are all so busy that we push that special time away.

What ideas do you have for making time for "do nothing" time?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards

While I was on vacation, I read Elizabeth Edwards recent book, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities. I was looking forward to the read because I've admired Ms. Edwards for the strong and graceful way she's handled herself while campaigning for her spouse, fighting terminal cancer and dealing with the adultery of spouse John Edwards.

When I finished, I posted a review in my column; it wasn't favorable because I felt snookered by title. If it was Reflections, or My Life, I could have warmly accepted this book's content. But Resilience? I didn't feel the title matched the content.

When I got back to work this week, I started reading the comments. Many are the kind of things some women say that encourage other women to keep surviving, settling, limiting their own power. I don't see any victory in accepting the status quo, keeping the peace, putting on a happy face, not wanting to rock the boat, making do, or making sure everyone else is happy and satisfied, all while you are dying inside. That isn't resilience, at best, it's simple survival.

One reader commented that I'm naive. She said there are different "clubs" that we don't choose (illness, betrayal, loss of a child), and implied that I don't understand. Yes, I do. I understand all too well. My understanding colors my viewpoint. Though I'm not a "member" of one of the above mentioned clubs, my earlier life was riddled with family dysfunction, much of which continues to this day...without me being in it. Once I realized that I didn't have to live like that, and could make better choices, I did. I was determined that craziness would not rule my life; I would make a better life for myself. I have. When I knew better, I did better.

Over the past seven years, I've interviewed hundreds of women who have done the same. Most of them did not have Elizabeth Edwards upbringing, education or financial resources. They demonstrated their resilience through illness, betrayal, abuse, etc. The result was victory.

Still, I'm glad I read the book and see Ms. Edwards in a new light. And, in agreement with the general tone of the comments, I say, "God Bless You, Elizabeth!"

You can read the review and comments at