God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: The Value of Unplugging and Being Still This Christmas

I tend to be a workaholic by nature. I love what I do, and I get so pumped up on work adrenaline that I rarely slow down and unplug.

But I’m about to do just that.

Choosing rest and stillness feels like it goes against my very nature, but I know it’s important. Some of the business mentors that I most look up to and model my work after say repeatedly that rest is key to sustaining a healthy business and, more importantly, a healthy life.

Here are some quotes I’ve recently been inspired by, connected to the top reasons that I plan to unplug and rest this holiday season.

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.” -Bryant McGill, author and speaker

Slowing down and taking a step back from the whirlwind of work details inevitably calms the mind. This is always hard for me at first. The voice in my head that is chanting, “More, better, go go!” has to be hushed and the frantic rhythm slowed. It’s such an important practice though, and after a few days of being still and unplugged, my mind is able to see the big picture more clearly. When I unplug from the pieces, my perspective on the whole is clearer. I am able to dream of the future and prepare to tackle upcoming challenges with more insight and perspective.

“Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you. Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.” -Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter

I love this quote. It’s so packed with truth–truth that is not proclaimed loudly enough in the entrepreneurial space. We cannot function well in business if we’re not functioning well in other areas of our lives first. Thriving tends to be holistic and contagious. The intentional stillness this holiday season serves to refuel the areas of my life that have withered and to remember that there are a great many things more important than business success, namely relationships. I’ll be spending a lot of time with my family and my wife over these next few days. There’s nothing that refuels my heart and soul more and is more worthy of my investment.

We cannot function well in business if we’re not functioning well in other areas of our lives first. Click To Tweet

“The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest.” -Elizabeth Elliott, author and speaker

Elliott’s words are powerful because they’re a reminder that work and rest go hand in hand. I believe the two were created to live in tandem, and each allows the other to be fulfilling. Just as I embrace work and see it as a key part of a full life, I want to embrace rest the same way. My hope is that these coming couple weeks will offer a time of quiet celebration of the work I’ve done this past year. While there have been ups and downs, it’s felt like “work well done” (most of the time), and that does indeed enable me to enjoy rest.

“I tend to lose track of what is important in life when I am running around the office. A vacation with my family helps correct that… Your entrepreneurial spirit should help build what is important, not destroy it.” -Kyle Lacy, Senior Manager Content Marketing & Research at ExactTarget

Isn’t this the truth? How quickly we lose perspective on what’s important when we’re deep in the “to do” day in and day out! Rest and unplugging is so key in pulling our minds toward the big picture of life, toward family and faith and health. I desire that this new agency does indeed build up–not knock down–what is important in my own life and in my employees’ lives. I hope that the time I spend in community and in deep conversation, with my wife and dreaming about our lives together, at church and in communion with God… will stand as memorials of how important those things are and equip me to prioritize well in the busyness to come.

But what about the business?

Choosing to rest and unplug is so difficult for the entrepreneurial community in particular because we fear that the business can’t handle it. I’m learning though that the opposite is true. The business will suffer if we don’t. Here are a few ways I’ve found stillness to be so key for work growth too.

  • Clearing your mind of urgent things lets you dwell on important things.
  • Remembering what’s most important in life and why you work so hard is key for sustained motivation throughout the coming year.
  • You get to build up the people who have built you up so well during the busy seasons.
  • Recharging means you come back with more energy and passion. Goodbye, burnout.
  • Making work-life balance the true walk of your life–not just the talk–builds patterns into your office culture that inspire and empower your employees to do the same.
  • Setting aside space lets you focus on dreams and big-picture goals for the new year.
  • Slowing down means you take a step back and objectively analyze the wins and losses.

With all this said, unplugging is important. So, you won’t be hearing from me on the blog or via email for the next couple weeks. I hope to come back pumped up and ready for 2016. It’s going to be a killer year!

So, I’ll talk to you on January 5. Until then… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  • Lisa Cannon

    SO true and I am delighted you are going to be home for the holidays to “unplug” a few days. Looking forward to some quality family time with you and Julie!

  • Lisa Cannon

    SO true and I am delighted you are going to be home for the holidays to “unplug” a few days. Looking forward to some quality family time with you and Julie!

  • I just read this post today, Chad, and you are RIGHT ON!! Thanks for sharing those powerful quotes as well.

  • Thanks for writing this, Chad! I’ve recently discovered the same thing, I get super CRAZY when I don’t take a break… and not the good kind of crazy. Hope you and your family had a solid holiday 🙂