One of the biggest challenges we all face is the need to find quiet time. Time when we are reflective, not reactive. Time when we can calmly and dispassionately analyze all the facts we have and make decisions without pressure or tumult. Time when we can collect and prepare ourselves for the chaos right outside the door.
In my judgment, whatever activity we pursue, the quiet time is when the game is won.
Most of us are constantly fighting battles, putting out fires. We live from emergency to emergency and rarely just sit back and THINK. There are two reasons:
1. Given the complexity and speed of a 21st century existence, the demands on our time and attention are off-the-charts. Every single day each of us is deluged with thousands of pulls and propositions - verbal, digital, in print. No matter how hard we run, we can never process all that comes at us. Still, we try - leaving little bandwidth for contemplation.
2. Reaction is easier than reflection. The thing about reaction is that the need creates the road map. When there is a problem with _____, we know we have to address ______.
Contrast the quiet time needed to analyze where your business (or life) is headed over say the next 12 months. Obviously that question requires serious contemplation which can be painful, difficult and at best guess-work. And so, we let urgencies take us over - because they do not usually require the same degree of introspection, analysis and extrapolation.
Next week I am giving a speech to Connecticut real estate professionals looking for guidance as to how to deal with a difficult market. Here are three points I will propose:
1. Ignore the pundits (a little ironic, I admit). No one knows for sure where the real estate market is headed - find strength in your own gut assessments.
2. Look for historical patterns - if "the past is prologue," what were the lessons of the last such crisis period?
3. Force yourself to find quiet time for reflection and contemplation. When you strip away all the noise, where do you see glimmers of opportunity? Knowing that nothing is certain, what's the most likely direction of the market in the next 12 months? What do you do to intersect with that direction ... to get ahead of the curve?
I do not have a better sense of what is around the bend than the next person. BUT, what I do have is a commitment to thinking about it ... to doing my best to find time to pull away from the stress, the confusion and the demands. Because I believe that ultimately, the game is won in those times of quiet reflection when we try to find a pattern in the fireworks.
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