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2020 has gotten off to a really weird start. Many of us have been working remotely, trying to continue to design projects and meet with clients. But, even in the best of situations, we can lose track of ourselves in the process. Consider the wisdom of silence.

This feeling of being pulled in too many directions at once need not be inevitable. We can find ways to ground ourselves amidst all the chaos. Create moments of stillness where you can.

When silence is intentional, it is valuable and restorative. Check out my blog about Sherlock Holmes and the value he found in taking a moment to just think. The great detective would employ occasional silence and distancing for problem solving. In the BBC’s version they show this when Benedict Cumberbatch retreats to his “mind palace.”

We may not have mind palaces, or even mind sheds, but finding silence can bring us back to our senses. Like intentional breathing, which I’ve written about before, silence is essential to our holistic well-being. Silence is a powerful tool that allows us to take a step back from the atmosphere around us and realign with our intentions and ourselves.

Realigning Intentions — Professionally and Personally

I started the year offering a roadmap for 2020. Now, as a midway check-in, here are my suggestions for what we can do to benefit our personal and work lives.

  1. Listen to the customers.  First, broaden your definition of customer. Customers can be your clients, coworkers, vendors, your family. Listen and learn from their feedback and suggestions.
  1. Be useful.  If you listen, you can be useful. And there’s nothing more rewarding than being of use to others.
  1. Make things faster and simpler. Of course, this can’t be at the expense of accuracy, but try not to overly complicate decisions, tasks, actions, etc. We must strive to reduce complications.
  1. Innovate, don’t imitate. To succeed, we need to continually look for new approaches. We love experiments. They help us think differently.
  1. Give back. At some point in all of our lives, we’ve received other people’s help. Try to give back this summer. This may seem like one more thing to cram into the schedule, but the benefits will outweigh that aspect.
  1. Be honest. Speak in an open and ethical manner. As I’ve discussed before, this may even mean being authentic and expressing anger. It’s better to communicate fully than to let resentments fester or leave frustrations unattended.
  1. Keep learning and improving. Loyal readers know that this is a key point for me.  There’s (always) plenty of room for improvements and innovation. That’s how we create better experiences for all.  

As the start of summer approaches, let’s set aside time to tune out the noise. Turn off your device. Go for a walk or simply close your eyes. The magic in the wisdom of silence is that we can access it wherever we are — though I’ll be hoping you get to try this somewhere you love in the coming months (without the social distancing considerations!).