The world demands that we work at a breakneck pace and anything less is a failure, or worse yet, a sign of laziness. The problem with this train of thought is that if you keep zooming along trying to keep up with everyone and everything, you will eventually mire yourself in the minutia of your life and business and lose sight of the big picture.
When this happens, and you finally can’t hear your own inner voice anymore, it means you need to step back. This means going into a self-styled hermit mode where you can be alone to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing.
These four benefits of alone time can help you refocus so you can come back to the world recharged and ready to perform at your best:
1. Being Alone Forces You to “Be” Not “Do”
Being alone, even for only a few hours, preferably in a quiet place, gives your mind and body the opportunity to settle down. But as you’re trying to do this you may instead experience some pretty outrageous feelings of anxiety, guilt, and fear.
These are all side effects of stepping away from the relentless pace of society and are also a wake-up call that you truly need to allow yourself this time away to just be instead of remaining caught up in the endless cycle of doing. Being allows you to regroup mentally, physically, and emotionally, and is crucial in helping you understand how you’re spending your life.
Is all your busyness moving you closer to what you want? Does your work fill you with deep meaning, mild despair, or apathy? Giving yourself permission to just be allows you to take stock of what’s really going on and can help you figure out if you’re spending your energy on the things that are important or not.
2. Being Alone Helps You Face Your Fears
In our super speedy world, it’s easy to avoid facing fears. You’ll tell yourself that if you just keep moving, just keep “doing,” you’ll be able to outrun them. Time alone helps you face your fears without distractions or having to endure the judgment of others. Instead of becoming overwhelmed or discouraged when faced with fears, think of them as ways to learn.
Write down each fear without trying to figure out how to conquer it and don’t share your list with anyone. Sit with your fears and acknowledge them. What do they have to teach you? Don’t beat yourself up for being afraid, but try instead to look at what you can learn about yourself, others, and your situation.
Which fears are the result of unreasonable expectations you’ve placed on yourself? Which fears have you adopted from others that no longer apply to you? Shifting to a mindset of working with, not against, your fears will eventually help you learn the lessons they have to teach you.
“I’m learning a lot about myself being alone, and doing what I’m doing.” – Chantal Kreviazuk
3. Being Alone Allows You to Reflect
Taking a break and spending some time alone gets you out of the details and up to a thirty thousand foot level so you can see the big picture of your life. Much like a business strategy review, a much-needed pause is your chance to assess your personal and professional lives and figure out if you need to make big changes, little tweaks, or something in between.
What are your biggest successes? What new passions do you want to pursue? What big decision do you need to make that will impact you now and in the long run? Others may tell you that reflection time is a selfish luxury, but in truth, it’s reflecting on your life as a whole and making the needed adjustments that will keep you energized and balanced over the long haul.
4. Being Alone Lights the Way Forward
By staying in the constant rat race of doing and never taking time away to simply be, you not only run the risk of burnout but also of losing touch with your passion. It’s so easy to get lost in the details and before long, years may pass, and you may wake up and realize you don’t feel as though you have anything to show for your time and effort.
Stepping back recharges your inner light; it allows you to appreciate where you’ve been, refocus, and provides clues as to what you want to learn as you continue your journey. Taking time away allows you to weigh your options on how to get to where you want to go, and more importantly, why you want to get there.
“Take a step back today and look at all the beautiful things you have.”
Taking time away from your usual routine to make progress may seem counterintuitive. You may feel like you can’t do it, and if you do, you’ll be judged harshly. The question you must ask yourself is this: are you willing to risk the judgment of others in order to discover breakthroughs about yourself and your business?
If your success depends on looking at alone time as an opportunity instead of a punishment, and an essential part of being a healthy person instead of a luxury, isn’t it time you took some time away without guilt or excuses to focus on your success?
How has alone time helped you in your life? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com