I just finished reading "Lead Yourself First -- Inspiring Leadership through Solitude" by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin. The title interested me because I have always felt the need to be alone to process my thoughts and strategy before making life decisions. This book demonstrates how leaders in American history have formed effective and notable leadership decisions after times of solitude.
Solitude seems so elusive in our society now, when we are constantly connected with technology and so busy all of the time, especially for an extrovert like me. But when we make the time for solitude, we gain clarity, emotional balance, moral courage and develop our creativity. I can attest that this is true.
I attended a women's networking lunch a few years ago and the speaker was a business coach who encouraged "quiet time" to think and process. On the way back from that lunch, I turned off my car radio (which is usually on every time I drive) and I thought about how I needed a change to feel more productive in my career, about what I was passionate about and how I could transition to working within my passion. I called my husband right after that moment of solitude and said that I wanted to start my own business to coach and train in leadership and team development, he was supportive because he had seen me train and saw my passion and ability, so I began planning in solitude what my new business would look like and how I could make it a success.
After continued business expansion in the last two years, I make it a priority to have solitude to think about what is working and what is not, in my life and my business. As I am travelling more for my business, I create solitude when I travel on a plane by wearing headphones, but I don't listen to anything, it keeps others from talking to me so that I can close my eyes and have solitude. I regularly schedule times of solitude, during which I make an effort to not be connected electronically or interacting with others, especially when I need to lead myself to move forward. It works -- I am more at peace, more satisfied with my life decisions and focused on helping others grow -- my passion.