I was sitting outside working on my computer; writing, emailing, information gathering, compiling reports—all the necessary tasks for an entrepreneur. It was a beautiful morning, and I was feeling quite proud of my productivity. During my flurry of activity, I noticed one constant being that didn’t flinch the entire time I was working—Louie!
It wasn’t that he was asleep and not moving, he was laying down and fully awake. Sometimes he gazes into the trees looking for some creature that dares to walk across his kingdom…but not this time. He was just being! He was serenely experiencing every bit of beauty that nature offered. I have no doubt that he thought it was all for his pleasure alone.
As I watched him, I couldn’t help but think, “It must be nice to be my dog and relax on the deck while I work to provide a nice home and good food.” Then I had to laugh. Louie was teaching me a lesson that took me years to grasp and yet is still so easy to forget—how to just be. We get caught up in the mode of I’ve got to do more, work more, network more, socialize more, Facebook more, more, more, more. Help—let me off this merry-go-round!
I’m not sure what Louie was thinking as he quietly enjoyed nature, but he inspired me to close my computer and experience the stillness as well. Ahhh,there it was, something I had been missing—peacefulness. Most of us never take the time to practice being still and emptying our minds of the stuff that clutters our thinking and clouds our wellbeing. The ability to just be is crucial to our ability to lead well.
There is an assumption that sitting quietly means you’re not doing anything. But that may be our most productive time of creativity or processing a difficult issue…or praying about how to respond to something.
Recently, my peacefulness was disturbed by an offense against someone who is close to me. While my initial reaction was to clear up the wrong and let everyone know the information being spread was a lie…I decided to do what Louie does and just be. I took a few moments to process, and I did NOT jump on social media to see what all the craziness was about. I actually practiced being still and not reacting out of indignant anger. Instead, I focused my energy on encouraging the person who was wronged. I know that, given time, the truth always prevails.
I know another leader who demonstrated the leadership quality of “being.”Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, who wrote Lead Like Jesus, shared the five habits of Jesus. The first one is Solitude;“Jesus modeled solitude as an integral, strategic component of His leadership. In solitude and prayer, away from the hopes and hurts of those who looked to Him with high and compelling expectations, Jesus again received instructions on the best use of the next day from the Father.” This also gave Jesus the strength to stand up to others who gossiped, mocked and eventually crucified him. He didn’t draw a sword nor did he spew angry words, yet his quiet spirit shook people to the very core of their being. Now that’s power!
Just being is necessary for us to make good decisions that positively affect our lives and those around us. Be intentional about being still.