The last three years have been the busiest of my life. I’ve been all over the country, on planes, and in rental cars. I’ve done a lot of great work I’m proud of.
Updates on me: I’m in year four of a project with the Bridgestone Corporation with my friend Sam McKee (Evergreen Leadership), and I just completed a small project with Microsoft. I’m regularly driving between Chattanooga and Huntsville where I work with the Wilson Lumber Company, the fastest growing lumber company in our region. I’m also regularly doing trips to Nashville. Life is busy and changing for me. However, last year I knew something needed to change.
Wisdom From Forest Gump
While out running on a morning in November, my heart was racing out of control. I stopped in the middle of the trail and a scene from the movie Forest Gump came to mind. Forest has just returned from war, lost his childhood sweetheart, and is in the throws of grief, though he doesn’t understand that. He heads out the door and starts to run.
“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run,” Forest shares. “So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason, I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.”
When it was all said and done, Forest had run for “3 years, 2 months, and 16 hours.” Stopping in the middle of the road, he says simply, “I think I’ll go home now.”
Thinking of this scene in the middle of the trail, I stood there and thought, Wow, I’m tired. So I canceled my appointments, went home, and took a nap.
Why I Wrote Two Books In 2022-2023
I took the following months a little slower and made more time to reflect. Why was I running so hard? The easy answer was that there was so much to do. The harder answer was that I was trying to outrun something. But what?
After a period of discernment, I realized the buzz of “busy success” had sort of hypnotized me. Busy success is when a person’s schedule is filled up, but they are left empty. It was nice to be busy, make money, and feel important. But underneath it all, I wanted something different. I asked myself, What would a slower success look like? In other words, how could I do more of what left me feeling energized, not depleted?
Amidst the busy 2022 travel schedule, I chose to also focus on writing. Around the time of the November exhaustion, I was finishing my first business book, Embrace What You Don’t Know. I wrote the initial draft of this book in about ten days. In writing it, I noticed how energized I was. That was a clue that I should do more of this. So I started a second (out June 6, 2023), Executive Retreats for Busy Business Leaders. Writing these books was fun, and rewarding, and brought a lot more fulfillment.
I’m happy to say, the time of slowing down gave me clarity. I’m still working with a few corporate clients, but I’ve made more space to write and facilitate retreats. In fact, that’s entirely what Executive Retreats for Busy Business Leaders is about. I did a recent interview about it that I’m really proud of with Robb Holman from Inside Out Leadership. Check it out.
Inner & Outer Change
I’m sharing this to let you know where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. A few weeks ago I started my next book, which will be a spiritual reflection on mid-life. Thankfully I don’t have a deadline for this project, so I’m working on it slowly. And in the slowness, a new thought came to me — When our outer world changes, it requires an inner world change to match.
Everything about my outer world is changing. My wife just completed her Masters’s Degree in Counseling after twenty years of being a mom. My daughter graduates high school tomorrow, and my son is about to start driving too. “Dad,” he said, “I think I’d like your car.” Funny, I know. But all this is to show that a lot is still changing for me, even down to the car I drive. So with all those causes there, I’ve been slowing down, retooling, and strategizing for my next phase of life.
When your outer world changes, take it as a hint that your inner world may need an upgrade too.
I look forward to reconnecting on my website with you over the next few months.