Good Leaders: What do you think about when you are alone?

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Our thoughts and emotions cause our behaviors: what are you thinking about when you are alone?

Our thoughts and emotions cause our behaviors: what are you thinking about when you are alone?

Someone once said: wherever you go, there you are.  No one knows that more than business people who travel a lot for work. It’s a lifestyle that comes with lots of solitude.

“I’m just here because I hate being alone,” answered the guy sitting next to me on the Daily Grill bar stool. I thought he was a traveling businessman like me who flew into town. “Where’s home?” I asked. “Across the street…I’m just here because I hate being alone,” he shrugged.

Wherever you go, there you are…alone with your thoughts.

I enjoy reading the wisdom of Barry Ebert who writes a monthly column called Spiritual Good Sense. Recently he wrote about the importance of solitude for our physical, spiritual and emotional health. “It begins with cultivating a good relationship with ourselves and realizing that we’re not alone,” he shares. Re-reading this insight made me think of my barstool companion.

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Business travel provides ample opportunity for reading & writing, meditation & prayer - all healthy thinking time alone.

Business travel provides ample opportunity for reading & writing, meditation & prayer – all healthy alone time thinking.

Ebert continues: “The ability to sit in a room alone on a regular basis and be comfortable with our own company lays the foundation for good relationships with the other souls around us.” This begs the question: What do you think about when you are alone?

For me, learning to embrace the quiet has been a life-long struggle. I’ve always been a flaming extrovert who thrives within frenetic energy. But life has it’s own way of grabbing our attention and forcing us to be quiet. And to listen. Business travel has helped me become more spiritual and reflective in my life. Reading and writing is good. Meditation and prayer is always helpful.

I went to the Daily Grill that night because I was hungry, not because I needed a friend to break the silence. The coaching to my bar stool companion was brief: “What I’ve learned through my own experience is: what we concentrate on grows. If failure is all you think about, it’s definitely growing.”

The relationships with my clients & colleagues, friends & family are growing richer because of the time I spend thinking about them when I’m alone: good thoughts at the airport, in the air, in the back of a car, in the hotel and sitting on bar stools. I am so grateful… What we concentrate on grows!

Good leaders make a habit of seizing the opportunity to sit alone and reflect on what’s good in their lives. And they find ways of enjoying their own company as an investment in faith, family and friends.

Our readers will appreciate knowing: What do you think about when you are alone?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

1 Comment

  1. Albert on April 2, 2014 at 8:40 am

    As a borderline introvert who often has to act as an extrovert; I crave the quiet. I find myself looking for and looking forward to those times when I can focus on what the day has brought and put it into context with all the rest of what is happening around me. As a musician, I always have music running through my head and I find that if I focus on the song at hand it can drive the meditation for me. I allow for the free association to take place and not become too bogged down in any one thing. In the last few months I have become more intentional about my thinking. I have set a new rule for myself that I cannot spend any more than 10 minutes on any one problem that I need to solve. This has helped me create a sense of balance because I know if I cannot solve it in that time, then it needs to be addressed again after I have allowed my life to provide me with some of the context I know I will need. I have also learned in these times of quiet that if I follow this rule I come out more refrehsed and ready to engage again in all the places that need it.



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