Photo by Author
Are you a sucker for beautiful sunsets? … I am. If you read my articles on a regular basis, you know I love sunsets. There are several reasons. The colors are spectacular. The kaleidoscope changes every few minutes. It brings back childhood memories (we had great sunsets in the Mojave Desert). And sunsets don’t occur in the morning. Sunrises are equally beautiful, but I’m more of a night person than a morning person so I prefer sunsets.
This particular sunset was taken on Palau (Micronesia, Pacific). Palau is a beautiful place, especially if you’re a diver. The dive sites, fish and coral are protected and respected. The sunsets are spectacular. Sunrises too. Whenever I’m in Palau, I feel as if I’m diving in a Disney-inspired aquarium of sorts. It’s a bit surreal.
Once you’ve been there, it’s easy to see why Palau is one of the top-rated dive sites in the world. But it’s not easy to get to due to its location. You have to work at it – plan, buy plane tickets, make connections, etc. However, in the end, it’s worth it. The diving, the experience, the sunsets and the beauty of the island (really an archipelago) make it an amazing adventure.
Palau, for me, is also a Thinking Zone. It’s a place to think, to reflect, to pray, to dream, to relax, and to recharge. There are minimal distractions on Palau. There are no cities, no crowds, no night-life, and no ‘To Do’ lists. Distractions exist but they’re minimal. It’s a great Thinking Zone for me.
Why is a Thinking Zone important? Why do YOU need one? Well, we know that excellence begins with self-knowledge. We know that growth begins with self-knowledge. A Thinking Zone facilitates self-knowledge like any good catalyst. A Thinking Zone facilitates excellence and growth. We also know that dreams are born in Thinking Zones.
Hopefully you know your strengths and weaknesses, your hot buttons, your goals, etc. If not, a Thinking Zone is a great place to discover them. If you already have in-depth knowledge of yourself, a Thinking Zone is a great place to make an assessment. How are you doing? How are you growing? How are your plans progressing? Do you have any new dreams?
Your Thinking Zone doesn’t have to be on a Pacific island. It can be someplace close to your home. In your neighborhood. At the park. At the beach. At your favorite sidewalk café or coffee shop. The location doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a place where you can really think and dream. A place where you can make a personal assessment. What matters is that you take time to get away on occasion. A long weekend. A day. A few hours. Yes, on a regular basis as well. Not once every 10 years.
John Maxwell is known for having a “thinking chair” at his home which he uses to think. This is a great idea. It is like having a mini Thinking Zone at home. And while this is great for daily reflection, you need a Thinking Zone that gets you away from your routine. A special place. A place that inspires. A place of sunsets (or sunrises). Your Thinking Zone may change from time to time. It doesn’t have to be the same location. The key is to have a place you can get away, clear your head and think, dream, and take stock.
Palau sunsets inspire, give pause for reflection, and invite thinking. Actions that take place in the next year (or 3 months or decade) will have originated in Palau, in my Thinking Zone. You should have daily and weekly times of reflections AND you should have quarterly or yearly times of reflections. You might think of it like eating. You eat every day and some days the food is fantastic. Yet there are occasions each year (eg special holidays) where your eating is taken to a higher level than your daily fare. You have special foods, you have family over, you eat leftovers for a week. These times are important to yourself and to your family. They happen regularly (eg yearly) but they are not your daily occurrence. They are special. A Thinking Zone is special. A place to take a personal retreat. To think and listen. To plan. To dream.
Do you have a Thinking Zone? A weekend retreat somewhere? A place in the mountains? At the beach?
As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.