Stop charging towards the future and drink in today

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[tweetmeme]As those that follow me on Twitter will know, I’m spending this week working from Woolacombe, North Devon. This was a spontaneous trip brought on by the realisation that my mind and body needed to get away from it all. I needed some space to think. A fresh perspective. I’m a huge fan of this and find that simply replanting myself in a new spot for a while really helps me make sense of it all and has an amazing affect on my creativity (some of my best ideas have been had on that beach up there).

So yesterday morning, as I took a stroll along said beach, I thought about Red Cube and my vision for the future. I’m currently working on our growth plans and took the time to think about where I want to be, what the goals are, who the team is, who our clients could be. Then all of a sudden I was aware of the sand between my toes. I looked up and saw the long, expansive, breathtaking beach. I smelled the sea air (it was early so the aroma of fish and chips hadn’t permeated through yet). I sat down, looked out to sea,  emptied my mind and took it all in for a little while.

Which got me thinking: how often do we do this? Our lifestyles, both personal and professional, seem to be so busy and so focused on where we’re going that we don’t make the most of here and now. Now of course it’s important to plan, particularly in business. For most business owners the point is to work towards the future right? But how often do we take a step back, look at where we are today and appreciate that?

I launched Red Cube 18 months ago, just at the start of the recession (something I now think is a great thing). We’ve had our ups and downs, but looking back most of them were ups. I’ve worked, and still work, with some amazing clients that I genuinely love spending time with, my team are a great bunch of people and I’ve had some superb opportunities, most of which I didn’t plan. But at no point did I actually stop and appreciate this along the way. We’ve achieved some fantastic things that I’m truly thankful for. Looking at it now, I feel proud and that’s a great feeling. This has also helped me to identify what truly matters to me and I’m using that as part of my thought process in developing my vision.

This has been a useful lesson for me. Do you take time out to make the most of now? If so, how do you make sure that happens?

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For those conscious souls ready to step up and serve. Suitable for established or new coaches.

  1. What a fantastic idea Gemma – work life seriously does get cluttered with so much attention, demands and blind routine, that you forget to get away for some fresh air for some clear thinking. I need this at the moment. The best I get is usually 30 minutes in the (hopefully) sun in Golden Square every so often on my London trips!! – and lucky to get on a bench at that!

    I live 15 minutes from the south coast at Brighton… I might go there more after reading this – but wear shoes… as comparitively the flow of slightly uncomfortable sized pebbles through your toes is siginificantly less inspiring and might actually make me wish I was behind my desk again…

  2. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks Steve, and yes if the beach of choice is Brighton, shoes must be worn at all times 🙂

  3. Melanie says:

    Great post. I love social media, but there is a tendancy to get totally sucked in 24/7 and feel like you always have to be switched on. This post is a fantastic reminder that it is just as important to take some time out and reflect.

    When you work freelance the pressure is constant and even during weekends, I always have work on my mind. Over the last few weeks I feel a break is long overdue, so I am reducing my work time over the summer to recharge my batteries, enjoy some downtime and gain a fresh perspective ready for the autumn.

    And by the way the beach looks fabulous Gemma!

  4. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks Melanie and I agree, social media has given us an ‘always on’ mentality and we don’t need to think that way. I hear what you’re saying about working weekends, I did this for the first year of Red Cube and rarely took time for myself. I found this made me far less effective and now refuse to work evenings or weekends, unless on the rare occasion a project warrants it. This is so important to both our health and our effectiveness. Some of my best ideas happen when I just stop working.

    Yup, that beach is amazing. Am off there for lunch soon 🙂

  5. Know what? You’re absolutely right. I’d planned to work the whole weekend, but after reading this will spend at least one day over the wk end break doing something that does not involve a computer. Thanks for the mental nudge.

  6. Gemma Went says:

    You’re welcome Tracey, glad the nudge was useful 🙂 I find it so important to my work these days.

  7. Nikki Groom says:

    Gem, I love this post. It’s so true that we often become so anxious about what’s in front of us, that we fail to stop and appreciate the here and now. Thanks for the timely reminder. And thanks for sharing such a beautiful photograph. It made me feel very meditative.

  8. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks Nikki. Hope you’re still kicking ass over there in the US of A 🙂

  9. Nikki Groom says:

    Doing my best 🙂

  10. Sophia says:

    Hi Gemma,

    Loved this post – sometimes I feel guilty for being quite firm about my work / life balance but the job I do is pretty demanding and I know that without taking the time to relax and rebalance I’d soon end up burned out and unable to perform properly at work.

    I’m a Brighton girl (ok, incomer, I admit it!) but love being up on the Downs. The air really is sweeter up there and the views stretching out across Sussex really help me to remember I’m just a small cog in the wheel and to put things in perspective – not to mention the fresh air blows the cobwebs away!

    A great post, thanks and a timely reminder to take time out to think and relax.

  11. Gemma Went says:

    This post really does seem to resonate with a lot of you, which shows me just how important this is. Thanks Sophia.

  12. Hi Gemma

    What a lovely blog post. I’ve been running my agency Whitespace for 15 years. I don’t think I’ve taken more than 2 weeks off each year in all that time. I absolutely agree that
    going to new places really clears your mind and helps to refuel the tank. One thing I do is when I finish a meeting early in the afternoon I no longer race back to the office if I have no deadlines. I take the pocket of time I have and I enjoy it and try not to feel guilty. An hour at the office goes by in a flash whereas an hour in the garden with my cat and a glass of wine in the late afternoon sunshine lasts much much longer. Hhmm. Now that’s just given me an idea. What’s the time? x

  13. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks for that Karen, it’s so important isn’t it? Now, you’ve just given me an idea too …

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