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Exert. Rest. Repeat.

Posted by Abi Tschetter on April 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM PDT
Abi Tschetter

“An object in motion stays in motion…” It’s Newton’s first law: Physics 101, and it’s on my mind this morning.

I’m not sure about you, but I haven’t thought about physics in at least two decades. Probably more. However, those seven words from way back when seem relevant today, and they had me scouring the internet trying to recall what comes next.

Effectually, the full law states that an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. And an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

So what does that have to do with business or management or consulting or anything? Well—everything.

An object at rest

The nature of my work is starts and stops: I’ve been going and going and going, and now, I’m not. Honestly, the eerie silence of this calm before the next storm has been a bit unsettling.

But time has told me that it is also a gift. So too is the space between this meeting and the next or between today and tomorrow. Whether it’s months or minutes, making the most of and gratefully receiving quiet times when they come can make the difference between good and better. Rather than fill empty spaces with more and more doing, perhaps consider taking some time not to.

  • Rest. In order to strengthen any muscle, the formula is simple: exert, rest, repeat. Times of rest afford opportunity for growth, so yes, take a lunch or take a nap (or both, perhaps).
  • Meditate. Intentionally quieting the mind and spirit fosters peace, clarity, focus, positivity, and a host of other great things. Just five minutes a day can do wonders.
  • Sleep. We all know and can feel the benefits of a good night of sleep. Further, midday naps are integral to many cultures around the world. Why? Because sleep is awesome. It boosts memory, mood, and attention. It promotes a longer life span, increased creativity, and it can reduce weight gain and depression.

An object in motion

The Puget Sound near my home ceaselessly ebbs and flows; it teems with power and life. Also in my neighborhood, the waters of a lagoon stand still. It, by comparison, is stagnant, and stale, and it smells.

Although stillness and adequate rest are essential to good work and good health, equally important are movement and motion. Simply put, movement = life.

  • Keep going. Particularly in quieter times, it is important to keep moving. Although shutting down completely or throwing routine to the wind may seem enticing, it’s not always the best idea. As anyone who has started a diet or an exercise program—again—will tell you, it’s far easier to keep going than it is to get going.
  • Keep growing. Our brains forge new pathways and connections when we think outside of the box and experience new things. Downtime is a great time to stretch our minds, to sharpen our tool belts, and to learn something new.
  • Exercise. Getting outdoors and moving our bodies is one of the very best things we can do for body, mind, and spirit. A brisk walk can decrease stress and increase productivity. Studies correlate exercise to heightened brain functioning, better health, better sleep, better sex, less stress, more energy, greater confidence, blah, blah, blah…

Unless acted upon

A prospective client called just a bit ago to ask me to begin working with her next week. I’m busy resting, I thought, but didn’t say that. Actually, I said yes.

Regardless of your trade, occupation, or social status—whether you love or you hate the life you live and that to which you put your hand each day—the rest of Newton’s Law matters. Unbalanced forces are everywhere, and change is inevitable. We will act, and we will be acted upon. Projects will come and they will go. In any case, to stay or to go requires action.

  • Act. When inspiration, ideas, and opportunity come, act on them! Inspired action can be a game and world changer.
  • Just say yes. Energetically, a yes is a powerful thing. If you wish to change your circumstances and particularly if you tend toward passivity or pessimism, learning to say yes may shift things in a positive direction and open more doors.
  • Balance. To change the state of a thing, an unbalanced force is required. Homeostasis is possible, however, when we adjust then readjust. Yield, push back, or change course when necessary. Take a break, then get back to work.

Topics: Consulting, Leadership