If you’ve ever had IT problems, you know one of the first questions the specialist will ask you is, “Have you restarted you computer?” Nine out of ten times, this easy solution does this trick.
Yet how often do we sit in frustration for an extended amount of time, clicking the same thing over and over again, trying to make something work that isn’t going to work without restarting?
Then we call the professional, expecting to be informed about a serious issue, only to be told what we already know—you just gotta restart the thing. It’s annoying and relieving, and once you get past the minor hiccup you can normally proceed with work as usual.
The same is true for our emotional and mental states. We often think we are hitting a wall, stuck, unable to execute the program of our life. We claim it’s a complex problem, a rough patch, a tough season, when the fact is we really just need a restart, to reset.
This isn’t always true. There are definitely real instances when we need to call in the big guns and get professional help, but how often do we stall in our misery and delay when it could have been an easy fix? I think it happens all the time, at least for me.
I heard an executive describe a conversation that occurs often with his wife. It doesn’t sound too unlike that dreaded IT call. Any time he comes home feeling defeated and down, set on the fact that the problem is huge, his wife always suggest he get a good night’s sleep, take a shower, have some coffee, then assess the situation.
He said almost every time when he is forced to take a momentary break it gives him the perspective and strength to tackle the issue at hand that then seems a tenth of the size as before.
Like putting off a dreaded software update until our computer locks us out and forces us to download the latest software, we often run way past the point of our operating capacity until we are forced to do what we put off. It manifests in sickness, burnout, apathy, resentment.
I’m writing this not because I’ve been on schedule with my personal restarts this year, but because I’ve done the exact opposite. I realized this about a month ago when I acknowledged a lot of what I was feeling stemmed from the fact that I’ve not taken a real break in nearly ten months.
It’s not only irresponsible but incredibly counterproductive. As I write this, I’m sitting next to this season’s first burn in the fire pit, listening to the cooler wind of this beautiful Sunday morning whip through the pines behind our house, welcoming in a much anticipated new season.
And it’s not just the cooler weather I’m excited about. I’m looking into a quarter that is going to have a healthier rhythm of what we’ve coined as “balance” in my life—a weekend camping trip, an overdue vacation, days off, holidays, time with family.
If you find yourself in that place I’ve been describing, before you give up, before you pull the fire alarm, just consider hitting restart. The problem may not be as bad as you thought, and you just might sail right out of that stuck position as soon as you do.