Just Stop

(Excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book, Just One Step: The Journey to Your Unstoppable You)

I literally limped into Santiago de Compostela and synchronistically connected with my friend Mark LeBlanc in a small hotel. After a very welcome hot shower, Mark and I journeyed into Santiago for a lovely dinner. We shared our Camino stories, experiences and lessons over dinner and a glass of wine. It was a magical evening. After dinner we limped (literally … both of us) back to the hotel, and during the walk Mark asked me my plans for the next day. Mark was flying back home due to an illness in his family, but I was planning to continue my Camino journey on the way to the sea – what was known as the end of the world – ultimately planning to walk to the cities of Fisterra and Muxia. 

Noting my serious limp, Mark suggested that I instead take a day off and rest in Santiago, and I responded that it would only be a fifteen mile hike the next day (rather than my typical twenty miles per day), and Mark again encouraged me to take a day off to rest. When I responded, “I’ll be fine and it’s only fifteen miles,” Mark asked me one of those questions that I’ll never forget: “Do you do this in your life?” I knew immediately what he meant – he was asking if this was my regular experience and approach in life – to always push on, to always have it handled, to always overdo it, to always take on more rather than allow myself to rest. My answer was honest and immediate: “Yes, I do.”

You see, this has long been my mode of living – pushing myself because I can and telling myself that it’s just what needs to be done, yet I’m the one (through my choices) who creates this perceived need to push myself. This one day – in Santiago de Compostela, Spain – I chose differently, and I took the next day off to rest my body and my aching feet and legs. Not only was the rest (including sleeping in) much needed and amazing, but it allowed me to have some other synchronistic experiences that would have been impossible if I’d pushed on.

We live in a fast-paced world and it’s not slowing down, yet each of us have the opportunity and the power to change this dynamic and it starts with the simple decision to just stop. The problem is that most of us keep telling ourselves that we can’t stop or slow down, because there’s always so much to do. So much to accomplish. So much to get done. So much, so much, so much. And yet I’ve discovered that there will always be more to do and that the push to always be doing and going has little to do with the things I think need to be done. The truth is that always doing is about worthiness, and this is what I’ve learned – that I’m worthy enough to pause, slow down and even stop. And so are you.

Where in your life, relationships or leadership do you need to just stop? Where are you pushing and pushing? In what way are you trying to prove yourself through your doingness? In what ways is your life and relationships being impacted by your inability or unwillingness to simple stop? Most important, are you willing to just stop?

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