Can you just “stop”?

There are a lot of things we get backwards about life, business, well-being and happiness in general.

One of the biggest misconceptions in life is that we need to always grow.

We fall for the marketing and sales pitches of the beauty industry and believe that we are never supposed to age, make peace with wrinkles and the shape of body we have.

We inhale the message of the personal development industry that we “must always change and improve ourselves” — which of course can only be achieved by buying that extra workshop/book/training/video class, etc.

Why should we always improve ourselves? Here’s a crazy thought: how about we just try to remain a balanced, relatively happy and sane individual through the turmoils of life?

My biggest pet peeve is the restlessness of leaders.

Leaders do set the tone, the strategic agenda, the vision, goals and KPIs and the culture in the company.

I am sure you have seen this behavior in leaders (others or yourselves) — always setting more difficult targets to achieve in the name of growth and expansion.

Up to a certain level that is a normal, healthy and expected behavior and attitude from a leader. They are supposed to grow the business, to grow people, increase revenue, innovation, quality, etc.

The problem arises when this turns into what I like to call “chronic next-ing” — losing the ability to enjoy and rest into the present situation because you are so focused on embarking on the next sprint towards a goal.

These are the hyper-achieving leaders with incredible results but who have seasonal burnouts so frequently that all the people in their surroundings know to expect them. Their peers, teams, friends and family are always expecting for the other shoe to drop and have to tiptoe around the leaders’ drained and hyper tensed nerves.

These are the leaders who know how to create results but are oblivious to how to create celebration, ease and fun — for themselves and for their teams and clients.

One of my proudest and happiest moments when I coach leaders is when they reach to that point of inner balance and clarity and consciously choose when they want to stop. They develop the courage to say “No” and “Stop” first and foremost to that nagging inner voice that incessantly shouts “You are not enough! This is not good enough”.

And then they start saying “No” and “Stop” to others — they set up respectful and firm boundaries in their personal and professional businesses, they consciously and carefully select what work is impactful and meaningful and what is busy work that just dissipates energy and resources. They might have the wisdom to choose to not increase targets for their businesses and teams in a pandemic year.

They gain the courage to refuse an after hours meeting because they made a promise to their kid to attend a school event and missing that is not an option for them.

They even gain the superhero strength and courage to say no to a promotion that brings more money and status but eats away the little free time they have left, to embark out of projects or missions that have no meaning to them, and to leave companies when their presence there brings more chaos, resentment and negativity than synergy and growth.

Knowing when to stop is the number one critical tool in the self help kit.

But it is also one of the most difficult things to do, because it is contrary to everything we have ever been taught to value and do.

So in spirit of supporting each other to develop this life saving ability to stop — tell me your stories about the healthiest “No” you have ever said in your life!



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