May 1, 2018

A Prescribed "Quiet Day" for an Driven Entrepreneur Who Just Had a Big Win

Want to take a day and bookmark a big win? Here are a few ideas and groundrules
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One of my CEO coaching clients just experienced a fantastic win. He didn't passively "experience" it. He co-created it with his team. Rah.

During our most recent session, I suggested that this extremely driven guy take a "quiet day" to really allow himself to be with his success, to appreciate himself, to feel a full day of ease, to bookmark the victory, to refill for the next stage of his company's journey.

This morning he wrote: 

"Thursday is the day: my schedule is cleared until 6:30pm. I’ll be in NYC. Nothing on my calendar. So, what’s my assignment? What should I do? Or, more importantly, what should I not do on Thursday?"

It's worth noting that for this CEO, a buzzing city is his quiet forest.

I penned this response and enjoyed it so much, I decided to share it. What do you think? What would you add or subtract? When was the last time you had this kind of day?


Thanks for asking and creating this. One overall thing I want to suggest is that I’d like to reframe this day from a “quiet” day to a day of full-body yes. I think the quiet is in service of identifying wants, but I don’t think quiet is an end/value in and of itself.I have a few suggested ground rules:

  • Get friendly with scarcity: only one day, one entire day is so long, what if I waste all/part of my day, what if I do it “wrong”…then let all those go on Wednesday.
  • Let go of the idea of comparison — this is better than that, I would learn more from this than that, eating this is healthier than that, old art is more edifying than new art, art is more edifying than pizza
  • Phone: Turn off all notifications, ignore email, ignore text. I assume your wife has a DND bypass with 2 calls. Create a few ideas for how you’d like to use your phone. Ideas: Uber/Lyft to get places, maps to find places, phone to make a reservation (no > 1 hour in advance), calling anyone you decide you want to speak to (b/c you are thinking of them and want connection only) with no > 10 mins of forethought.
  • Money. You have plenty/enough, there is no need for you even to consider it during this day. It’s energy, a vehicle for you to engage with what you most want. That’s it.
  • Make no plans > 1 hour in advance. Wake up when you wake up. Go to sleep whenever you feel like sleeping (Including during the day)
  • After you’re awake, tune in to your body…all the bits…and feel into an inclination, a wish, a desire, an appetite, check to see if there’s a “yes” there, check to welcome and then let go of all judgments around the yes, being quiet will really help here, breathe, and then…use your mind to direct your body wherever the NEXT yes is. Remember, no planning > 1 hour in advance…so you can really, really tune in to what you want to do in this moment for the very next moment.
  • During the day, notice the behaviors that are habitual/addictive that are distracting you. What is the thought right BEFORE you think about what’s happening on email/text/NYT. What does hunger feel like? Am I rushing? Am I moving too slowly? Am I getting it all in? Am I doing enough.
  • As you’re moving through your day, as you interact with EVERYONE you interact with, check right before that interaction occurs, and ask yourself “is my heart open?” Try this with friends, front desk attendants, waiters, people you catch contact with on the street. Breathe and imagine what porous, diaphanous availability might feel like…the experience of you giving the gift of your heart liberally, with plenty of time and no risk of loss…from doing it.
  • In the morning, and once before sleep, and as often as you’d like during the day, ask yourself two questions:What do I appreciate about me and what I’ve done/created in my life/who I am; What is my purpose?

Have fun.

Sue Heilbronner

Sue Heilbronner is an executive coach, Conscious Leadership facilitator, and catalyst for change.

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