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What Does Your High-Tide Mark Look Like?

What Does Your High-Tide Mark Look Like?

 

    My walks with the dogs afford me some daily down-time and 30 minutes or so to clear the mental cobwebs – and sometimes, it is the source of new ideas from the most unlikely places.

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    A recent dogwalk took myself and the dogs down to the beach for some fun and frolic – cabin fever was setting in after a particularly rainy, stormy stretch, and the Shiba Inus needed a good play.

    As soon as we reached the bottom of the stairs, I could see that the inclement weather had created an unusually high storm surge at high-tide, reaching right up to the base of the cliffs. We were the first beachgoers there after this unusually high tide, and it had completely transformed the beach! All the flotsam and jetsam, evidence of beach parties (both human and otter in origin), and the straggly bits of seaweed were washed away, and the sand all the way down the beach was pristine.

    Like we were the first ones to discover a secret destination!

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    Now during the winter, these storm surges are somewhat regular occurrences, tides will reach a high point, and about once a year, there will be a huge tide, influenced by both the moon cycle and whatever might be going on weather-wise. The point being, this is part of the cycle of nature that so many of us don’t notice as we live our urban existences.

    Here we go again!

    It struck me that in our business and personal lives, we also experience similar natural cycles, but just don’t notice them as such because we are also out of tune with the cycles found in nature. The notion of the “business cycle” is a commonly referred to phenomenon in economics, but most small business owners are too focused on the day-to-day stresses to worry about the long-term. The notion of the “7 year itch” is part of our popular lexicon (and spoofed by Hollywood), but we seldom give ourselves slack in our personal relationships to roll with the ebbs and flows of our romantic lives.

    Instead we expecting the months in the 10th year of our relationships to be exactly as exhilarating as the first! We also pay a lot of attention to circadian rhythms and sleep cycles, but forget about the intermediate, seasonal cycles that influence our lives.   The more intentional we get about recognizing some of these seasonal rhythms, and the strategies we’ve used in the past, the better we will get at life – personally and professionally!

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    Tack right … or left

    It also struck me that there are times in our personal and professional lives where we find ourselves at a high-tide, or storm-surge mark – where we weather difficult periods, and come out the other side with a fresh start – or a “do-over”. Think about it – in the world of startups, the concept of “pivoting” to react to market demands is perfectly acceptable; even encouraged! And there is a definite efficiency to recognizing where you are in the cycle and adjusting to change rather than beating your head against a brick wall. Ironically while we laud the agility of successful startups, when it comes to our own experiences we hold ourselves to the rigidity of the perfect 5-year plan and deem ourselves failures if the end result does not play out exactly as we viewed in our heads.

    So, I encourage you to get in touch with the rhythms that permeate your life. Pay attention to repeating patterns – the ebbs and flows, and get to know when to take advantage of signals such as the storm-surge that tell us its time to change direction. (Just think, in 5 years, there are a total of 20 seasons – a lot of natural changes to take advantage of!)

    Take a deep breath, and get your hands dirty

    I firmly believe that one way to bring home an intuitive sense of those rhythms is to reacquaint ourselves with the rhythms of the natural world. If you live near a beach, make a regular visit to the shoreline. Take a walk by the river or lake, or get outside and take notice of what colour the leaves are, and in what sequence the flowers emerge in spring, and when the trees begin to bud.

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    Better yet, if you have a yard or access to land, get outside and grow some food. Its the ultimate way of getting in tune with nature’s rhythms. Not only will you reap the benefits (literally) of making your own food, but it is the ultimate exercise in rolling with whatever challenges arise. … like the ultimate high-tide mark, every growing season is a fresh start.

    (Photo credit: high strong ocean waves with spray and surf via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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