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Sometimes, you need to... Power-down!

Posted 6/22/2019

I am currently sitting on a flight to Bali to spend some time with my beautiful wife, Laura, who has been there a month already getting her bags made for New York fashion week later in the year. I am sitting next to a very nice man, named Ken. We introduced ourselves to each other, found out a little about what we each did and then asked each other what we would be doing in Bali. Ken is catching up with his girlfriend and some other friends, and then, he asked me. I told him that I am going to meet Laura, spend some time with her, but really, my main aim is to rest, regenerate and enjoy my wife and the beautiful island of Bali. In fact, the words that came out of my mouth were, 'I'm going to power-down.'

I love the phrase ‘power-down’. It is so descriptive and creates the visual of going into deep rest, and full recovery. This trip is the culmination of a full-on and frantic two weeks. Don’t get me wrong, it has been amazing and absolutely on purpose, and I am grateful for the incredible opportunities that have opened themselves to me, nevertheless it has been full-on. Two weekends ago I spent an amazing weekend in Newcastle attending an inspirational weekend conference. Then last weekend I had a wonderful three days in New Zealand and now, as I write this, it is Thursday at 7:30am, and I am flying high above the ground on the way to Bali.

Let me just talk about the last six days. I was up at 4:30am last Friday to get to the airport and catch an early morning flight to Christchurch, NZ. Saturday morning I did two 50 minute presentations in Christchurch and then caught a plane to Auckland, NZ, where I did another two 50-minute presentations, that evening. On Sunday morning I was on a plane to Wellington, NZ to do another two presentations that day. At 6am the next morning I was on a plane back to Australia.

Soon after landing in Melbourne on Monday morning, I was home and getting organised to speak in a school to 300 year 11 students at midday. On Tuesday, I was in another school during the day, talking to 150 year 8 students and then talking that evening to a business group. Yesterday, I spoke at yet another school, to 200 year 9 & 10 students and then came home to pack for this trip. I was up at 3:30am this morning, to get a 7am flight to Bali. I have loved every second of the last two weeks, because everything I have been doing has truly been helping me fulfil my purpose, and, has energised me to get through the demanding schedule. It is time, however, to power-down. This blog is that last thing I do before I recline my seat, lift up the footrest, put on a movie and just let my body recover and regenerate for the next wave of purpose-driven activity as Laura and I prepare for our trip to the USA in September. At that time Laura will be showing bags on the catwalk at NY fashion week, and I will launching my new book, The Wellness Puzzle.

Powering up, requires you to power-down…

I have, for so much of my life, believed I needed to be ‘on’ all the time. Watching both my mother and father go non-stop was the example for me that being active and productive was the way to be, and resting or taking time out was laziness. To compound that, playing professional football in the 1980’s, again, reinforced to me the whole concept of no-pain-no-gain and that all-or-nothing is the only way to be. So I did. I worked hard at sport and then in my business, with very little down-time, only to find myself broke and broken!

Have you noticed that when you leave your computer, or phone inactive for a short period of time, it powers-down? It does this to conserve battery-life and save power for the next period of activity. How come technology gets it, but many people don’t? My beautiful little dog Joia loves to run and chase her ball, her squeaky toy, a sock, a toilet roll, or pretty much anything I throw for her. She will keep going as long as I throw something for her, but, as soon as I stop, and within seconds, she has laid down, curled up, powered-down and is re-charging for the next session of funness! How come animals get it, but so many of us don’t?

Make no mistake, the only way you will ever achieve your best life is to ensure you have regular and intermittent periods of powering-down. It just makes logical sense, doesn’t it? If you keep driving your car non-stop it will eventually run out of petrol. If you leave the torch light on, the battery will eventually die. If you try to keep going, without those periods of power-down, you too will run out of petrol, wear-out and die! It is tragic that so many people learn the lesson through a painful experience, when it all could have been avoided.

If it is true, we cannot continually perform at our peak performance without periods of rest, and, in this day and age we often have a very demanding and hectic schedule – even if it is doing things you are passionate about – how do we find time to power-down? Flying to Bali is a nice thing to do, but not a regular strategy to continually power-down when we need to. So, let’s look a few simple power-down strategies to help you get the most out of your body, your performance and your life.

Sleep is a good one. I love sleep and I love my bed, and I make sure I am in bed as early as possible to get at least eight hours of sleep. I am up early every day, because I want to get lots done before the world is waking up, and so it is imperative for me to get into bed and sleep well every night. Could you squeeze another hour or so into your nightly sleep by, spending less time in front of the TV, on social media or on low priority tasks?

Power-naps are the best. I try to arrange my appointments so I am not rushing to get from one to the next. Now, I am not always successful, but I get it right most of the time. Then, when I have 10-15 mins up my sleeve, I park in a quiet place, recline my seat, lock my car and power-down for those 10-15 mins. It is amazing what that short nanna-nap can do for your energy and effectiveness for the remainder of the day.

Meditating under a tree, deep breathing at the lights, sitting in a place with a beautiful view and looking with awe and gratitude for the beauty of the world, going for a relaxing walk with a pet, partner or by yourself, or just spending a moment in gratitude, are all wonderful ways of powering-down for a period of time. Yes, you are busy, and, I understand you don’t have heaps of time to rest, but please for your own health, relationships, purpose and happiness start to implement one or more of these ideas.

Well, let me tell you, I now have another three and a half hours flight time to Bali, and so I am just about to put on a movie and power-down. When I get off this plane in Bali, I want to be at my best for Laura, and I know that the only way I can be at my best is to take regular time periods of powering-down, resting and regenerating myself. Enjoy your power-downs this week.