Is January really gone already? Did it speed by as quickly for you as it did for me? It felt very much like riding on some kind of hamster wheel… Coffee… Lunch… Coffee… after school activities… dinner… meeting… event… etc.! Hey, I’m not complaining… what came out of those varied experiences was several new clients, important reconnections with long-time friends, fresh connections with people I did not know before and a great deal of pride and satisfaction. Guess it’s no surprise that February has arrived and today is Groundhog Day!
Ah, who doesn’t love Groundhog Day? In fact, one of my favorite movies of all time is the holiday’s namesake. Aside from building awareness of this most important of festivals, in the film, “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray’s hilarious rendition of Phil Connors, a washed up, negatively-minded weatherman who is forced to keep reliving the same day over and over and over again, is so funny because for so many of us it strikes a little too close to home, right? We go to bed each night and as soon as our head hits the pillow, it seems the alarm clock starts blaring, waking us from a seemingly nonexistent slumber.
In the movie, Murray’s character is caught in an endless time loop which eventually brings on intense depression. However, once he embraces the repetition of the cycle in which he is stuck, he learns to leverage the fact that the same day keeps recurring by bettering himself (e.g. takes up the piano, learns a new language, saves a child who falls from a tree).
So, in the spirit of continuous self-improvement and the desire to turn our exhaustion into a vehicle for growth and personal fulfillment, here are a few ideas designed to change things up:
- Meditation. While, the jury is still out for me on the benefits of meditation, I’m giving it a chance. People with whom I’ve spoken about this practice point to an increased sense of calm, clarity and ability to get things done. In fact, there is a famous Zen quotation to consider, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” Sounds like a plan. There are plenty of iPhone and Android apps to get you into the meditation groove right away – check ‘em out!
- Exercise. Personally, I try to exercise formally three times per week, plus get in 10,000 steps every day. It’s good for both physical and mental health. Especially while warming up or walking, consider listening to podcasts or music – something fun that you wouldn’t otherwise have time for. It’s enjoyable and rewarding and helps to shift focus away from the routine of work and on to other topics. Another wonderful option is to build a walking meeting into your regimen. This is a great way to get in your exercise while making time to engage with others in a relationship building capacity.
- Reach out to someone new. Just as Phil Connors eventually befriends everyone in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, you can endeavor to connect with more people in your own town (doesn’t have to be everyone… pick just one and go from there!). Through your interactions, I bet you’ll discover a new insight, come up with new ideas and innovate in a way you never thought possible.
So, here’s to Punxsutawney Phil (the most famous of groundhogs) and the hope that he fails to see his shadow so we can celebrate an early spring. Happy Groundhog Day and Happy Networking!