Importance of Rest

December 2010, by So-Young Kang

The end of the year has just snuck up on me and as I sit at the Frankfurt airport on my layover from Singapore to NY, I see the snow outside and realize that it is winter again. Four seasons have passed and we are about to enter a new decade – 2011. Before we get there, I wanted to take a moment to step back and reflect as I go off to rest for the next 3 weeks. First of all, I am grateful for so many things..namely:

  • My loyal team (especially Hanna) who have helped us complete our first full year as a company. We made it!! We’re 1 year old now!
  • Erwin, Dave, Tsun-yan, Brian, Mark, Hwa Young – friends and fellow life sojourners first, partners in our “Creative Collaborative” second
  • The opportunity and privilege to be able to expand our work into Singapore allowing us to recently open our Asia HQ office there
  • Many friends, family, clients, partners, and associates who inspire me to continue doing what we do every day – sometimes it’s the small ‘a-has’, sometimes it’s the larger changes within an organization and often times, it’s the lightbulb that goes off in peoples’ eyes with the dream to make things better. Yes, I am grateful for the work we get to do

Before I continue getting even mushier, I do want to leave you with one thought about the importance of rest and refreshing.

We are busy people. We lead teams. We have to get things done. We are responsible for others’ welfare. We have places to go, people to meet, things to do. Yes, these things are true.

But I believe that in order for us to do these things in a way that inspires, motivates and sustains, we also need to rest. To stop. To reflect. To enjoy. To do nothing. This means no working.

I am often asked – “How can we be more innovative?” “How can I be more inspiring?” “How do we motivate our teams?” I believe resting is an important part of how to achieve some of these goals. Allow me to explain.

  1. When we are too mired down in the day-to-day, we don’t create enough mental space to think of new things or attack bigger issues. Stepping away (sometimes physically) from the existing environment is critical to creating space.
  2. Core to leadership is the ability to lead yourself. Consciously taking time to stop and reflect on who you are, who are you being, who you would like to be and where you are going is about developing capacity to lead yourself.
  3. We are inspired by real people and personal stories – be it of struggle, journey or achievement. As busy as we are, stopping to enjoy life, create personal stories and be ‘real’ (not just in the roles or positions we hold but who we are when we are alone) can create the very source of what it takes to inspire others.

As for me, I took about 10 weeks off last year resting and refreshing (no work) before launching this company because I needed that mental space to imagine and dream about the company I wanted to create. I went diving in French Polynesia (best diving I have done!!), snowbarding in Niseko, Japan (tons of powder!), and eating and drinking in Tuscany among other smaller trips.

This year, my times of refreshing have been shorter spurts and more around enjoying times with friends in Egypt, London, Spain, Paris, India, Korea, Singapore and of course LA. Given the shorter personal trips, I am very much looking forward to 3 weeks of family, friends, and snowboarding in Mammoth again to actively rest, be refreshed, pray, and just be. I need to be inspired first to be able to inspire others.

So in this season…I wish for you to take the time to rest, be refreshed and continue being a source of inspiration to those around you as we enter 2011. Spend quality time with your loved ones. Read those books you have wanted to read. Pick up a new hobby. Write. Be present. Be refreshed. Just be. You usually do enough.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Holiday and a memorable 2011!

Signing off to rest and be refreshed,

So-Young Kang