Rest Needs to Be Work’s Equal Partner

Life is full of paradoxes.

·      Failure leads to success

·      The more choices we have the harder it is to choose

·      The only constant is change

·      Solitude makes you more sociable

·      Social media disconnects us from each other

Add one more to the list – you need to slow down to speed up.

As entrepreneurs and leaders, the very trait that helps us get results – a drive and grit to do whatever it takes – can also be a hinderance to our family business’s growth.

We ALL need to slow down to speed up.

Slow down looks different for each person.  But a consistent characteristic exists for everyone – allowing your brain to think, to connect the dots, and to explore, innovate and reconnect to your creativity.

Studies show that working long, unbroken hours often lead to stress, burnout, and disengagement from our work.  What gets results in the short term, can have a negative impact on the long term.

Rest is the playground for the creative mind.  Even when our brains are resting, it is still engaging its ‘default work’, plugging away at problems, examining and tossing out possible answers, and looking for new information. 

To that end, my team and I are taking the last week of June off and calling it “R5 week” – rest, read, re-energize, recreation, and reflect.  We are doing this independently of one another, not as a group.  It’s not a vacation in the common sense of the word, although it is paid time off. 

And let’s not kid ourselves – this is an expensive week from a business perspective.  The intent is to give each of us a significant amount of time to give our minds and emotions time to cleanse, clarify and ultimately recharge.  I’ve never met anyone who didn’t experience the proverbial “lightbulb went on moment”, and this typically happens when you are not trying to force the solution.  It happens in that space of letting your mind wander – THAT is the magic of rest.  I’m convinced dedicated time like this will produce exponentially more lightbulb moments for us, both personally and professionally.

We have taken the idea from our coaching association, Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches.  And as they stated, the concept comes from the age-old farming practice (and science) of “leaving your fields fallow for a season” so that the soil has time to rest and enrich itself for future cultivation, planting, and harvesting to the benefit of the farmer, workers, and the community.

I highly recommend that you do your own version of R5 week, even if for just one day.  This will be a key factor to creating more insight, clarity, and energy.  Slow down to speed up.

Rest is not idleness. Rest is not a luxury. Rest is a key to a better life.


Tom Garrity is a Senior Family Business Advisor and Managing Partner at Compass Point Consulting, based in Bethlehem, PA, a business consulting firm specializing in family-owned companies, primarily in the manufacturing, construction & professional service industries. 

Compass Point provides hands-on consulting & coaching to help businesses close performance gaps; give owners practical, actionable tools that drive growth; deliver training to develop leaders and position the business for successful ownership transition - all on their terms.

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