The Harvard Business Review refers to it as ADT – The Attention Deficit Trait. Different from ADD, a neurological disorder, ADT is developed over time, as smart, overworked individuals lose their ability to consistently stay on top of the massive amount of data thrown at them/us each day. This is so common they now have a name for it and treat it.
ADT is something I’m certain I had, for years, as I went from engineering school, to high stress Wall st. jobs, to graduate school, to improv theaters, to, to, to… and after leaving my last full time job and NYC in 2009, I had the opportunity – probably for the first time since I was a child – to first observe and then to surrender to what my body actually wanted to do, to how it wanted to work. It turns out I was tapped. My creativity had dwindled. New ideas weren’t flowing, and I needed a break. The HBR article describes it all well here: Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform
Leaving and stopping changed everything for me, in the most profound way.
Not only did I discover areas of genius and success, I discovered REST and RECOVERY, which allowed for more creativity, more genius and FUN in my life.
When we observe our natural cycles and honor them, we can have the most amazing creations spring forth.
My day in NYC, for over a decade, looked something like this:
Coffee / Shower / Dress
Subway. Subway. Subway.
Fluorescent Office 9 – 6
Improv Class / Improv Show / Yoga / some other activity
Subway. Subway. Subway.
Home btw 10 and 12
5 days a week. Weekends were worse.
When I quit all that, I moved and spent a good 3 months in the jungle of Kauai recovering. I returned my BlackBerry to theoffice and lived without a cell phone for the next year and a half as I traveled onwards to Australia and discovered that I could work part time, from a tent, between kayaking sessions. My work allowed it, yes.
And if your head is jabbering away, saying things like “well not ME!” I ask you why you’re on this list if you don’t believe a successful online business is possible.
I discovered that work became secondary. I was making enough for what I needed (a camping spot, gas and food money), and I began to discover a cycle that, if honored, seemed to reward me with great results.
Here’s what I observed.
[Please Note: I did NOT have names or cycles attributed to these patterns. They were observed in retrospect only. My actual job was just to listen to my body and surrender to what it wanted to do that day/week/month.]
Cycle 1: Petals Opening
Coming out of Cycle 4 – the Death / Sleep / Total Rest Cycle – I begin to have ideas I actually consider putting into practice. I bother writing things down and begin carrying a notepad around again. I begin seeing proof of my imaginings in things, places and people, and feel the revving up excitement to ACT on those ideas.
Cycle 2: Action
This is a very active cycle. It involves the generation of huge piles of ideas and now, their implementation as well. This also includes working with others, regular communication with many different people and large collaborative plans and projects.
Cycle 3: Flow / Reaping the Rewards
This is something like kayaking down a calm river. You don’t have to fight upstream, clear your paddle of bush / brambles. Your work in Cycle 2 has accumulated energy and is now paying you back. This is when we just sit and observe, slightly moving the boat this way and that. It gets us ready for Cycle 4.
Cycle 4: Death
No other word can describe it. Sometimes this cycle lasts 4 weeks, sometimes 3 months. Depending on what I’ve done and manifested in Cycles 1 – 3, I don’t have to worry about a roof over my head or food on my table. I rest and read. Meditate a lot more. Creatively write (if I feel like it) and stick my toes in the sand, watching the clouds.
I naturally reset back to 1 when it’s time.
It’s not rocket science. It’s nature.
Winter (where it does happen more visibly than from my desk on Kauai) has to occur. Spring has to occur. Summer, in all its decadence, has to occur, and Fall, (oh Fall in NYC!) is naturally there as well.
Honoring these cycles changes everything.
You stop being an automaton and actually get to know what your body wants. You can find your natural success rhythm. You can discover how long each cycle takes. And this ability to observe, naturally leads to a more conscious lifestyle OVERALL, with more conscious choices, people and activities filling your day. Your entire reality shifts. You find more magic is possible. More magic begins happening in your everyday life.
Now I understand that we don’t always have the opportunity to honor these cycles. Our world, our jobs, our house payments don’t always allow it. Or so we think…
One thing I’ve discovered over the years is that we NEVER know until we KNOW. We can never assess until we try. And you often need a lot less than you think.