Simplicity and Excellence

September 2010

Recently I found myself talking with some colleagues about the importance that simplicity has in my life, and how I endeavor to live a simple life. The unspoken question that hung in the air was how do I balance simplicity with having a robust, thriving coaching practice.  How does simplicity fit with excellence? I see the two not as mutually exclusive but rather very much aligned.

Simplicity gives me the space, time, resources and energy to open up to new learning and experiences.  It is what allows me to nurture the passion that I have for my work, thus leading me to deeper, richer coaching interactions. These days, simplicity is about learning to say no, so that I can say yes to the things that are truly meaningful to me. It also opens up time to explore new interests that speak to me. Having unscheduled time in my day is critical, and also supports this year’s theme of Freedom. Unscheduled time means I get to make a choice (I view choice as a cornerstone of freedom). I can choose to fill it with busyness, or I can choose to just be quiet, think, meditate, or write. Those are the things that, I feel, allow me to bring my best self to my work. Unscheduled time doesn’t translate to loafing. Often, I’m using it to think deeply about a client’s challenge, or how to approach a particular problem, or where I can ramp up my understanding about an issue that perplexes me. And each dawn finds me beginning with quiet time, where I reflect on the day before me.

When I consider simplicity, doing  can take a back seat to being. At times I chafe at the effort it takes to take care of all the “stuff” we own, yet I treasure the things that remind me of those I love. I just dust them (the mementos, not the people) less often. I’m working to simplify my correspondence, to be more concise, to delete non-essential emails…while staying committed to excellence in all of my communications. I do more yard work, which gives me energy and peace, and less housework. Mentally, I picture clearing space in my home, my work, my heart in order to better pay attention to what matters most.

What are some ways that you see simplicity and excellence as co-existing in your work? What would it look and feel like to have more simplicity in your life? What might the benefits be to embracing what is simple, instead of pursuing what is complex? Please let me know if you would like to explore these questions in our coaching. Meanwhile, have a safe and simple Labor Day weekend.

Sharon Keys Seal

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