Tag: refresh

8/22/11 “Restore”

Good day, team.

The coach’s challenge this week is about restoring ourselves. It’s a great topic for this time of year, as nice weather beckons us to relax and take some time off.

I’ve often gone on vacation only to find myself more stressed than refreshed when I return home. Vacation has more to do with our state of mind than how much time we take off. A lot of people try to use the skills that make them effective at work — organizing, planning and directing — to make their vacations a success. The trouble is, this approach is generally not compatible with a state of rest and relaxation. Putting ourselves in a relaxed mode is a real trick when we’re used to moving quickly and efficiently throughout our days.

One way to aid mental relaxation is to engage in a recreational activity that requires attention. Many people say that when they go skiing in the mountains, they don’t think about anything else because it requires their full attention. This focused activity allows them to stop thinking about anything else and just be in the moment — and these kinds of activities are highly restorative. Yesterday, while canoeing with my grandsons, I stopped thinking about work or what to fix for dinner or anything other than being in that canoe with my husband and the kids, paddling across the lake. It was glorious!

The key to taking time off to restore oneself seems to be in our ability to stay in the present moment, to think only of what we are doing now, where we are now, who we are with now. If we’re still thinking about work while we’re talking to our families, we are not very effective at communicating with them. If we’re lying in the hammock on the weekend worrying about something at work, how much are we able to relax? Conversely, if we’re in a meeting dreaming about our upcoming vacation, we’re obviously not being effective at work.

This week, try spending at least 30 minutes each day (outside of work!) just relaxing and allowing yourself to “vacate.” Try not to put any demands on yourself. In the words of Josephine Rathbone, pioneering professor of health and physical education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, “If we could learn how to balance rest against effort, calmness against strain, quiet against turmoil, we would assure ourselves of joy in living and psychological health for life.”

Have a great week!


© Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.


Good day, team,

Toward the end of last year, I asked some of my clients to answer three questions in preparation for 2010. Answering these questions is a useful exercise at the beginning of a new year, since they force us to focus on what we want to let go of and what we want more of in our professional and personal lives.

Here are the questions I posed:

1) What would you like to do differently this year (old habits you’d prefer not to repeat; dealing with something you avoided last year; creating an opportunity to innovate)?

2) What would you like more of in your professional life? What do you need to do to get it?

3) What would you like more of in your personal life? What do you need to do to get it?

I also recently read a Harvard Business Review blog (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/01/three_questions_executives_sho.html) that posed three other good questions:

1) If there was only one thing I could do to improve my business, what would it be and how would I make it happen?

2) If there was only one thing I could focus on to improve my personal performance, what would that be and how would I make it happen?

3) What messages am I not listening to or refusing to confront in my business and personal performance and how am I going to overcome that this year?

If we pause to reflect before embarking on a new beginning, we give ourselves a chance to make better, more intentional decisions about direction, goals and courses of action. We are often so busy with our day-to-day tasks that we don’t rise above the daily to-do list to get a broader viewpoint. These questions require us to think through what’s come before as a springboard for creating a road map for the future. We can review, compare, contrast and analyze possibilities to make important distinctions and, from that insight, better decisions about how to move forward.

If you haven’t done so already, this week ask yourself a few of the above-mentioned questions. The HBR blog encourages the following approach:

“I suggest real interaction with these questions. Don’t just think about them for a minute and then put them aside. Write out answers. Commit to what you’ve written down, and start the year off well.”

Writing your answers down is an excellent way to see if you’re being truthful with yourself. It also encourages more commitment to do what you say you want to do.

January is one of the few times we can demarcate a new start: It’s an opportunity to renew and refresh. Take advantage of this new beginning and ask yourself some good questions. You’ll have a chance to live the questions and the answers all year long.

Have a good week.


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.