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Why This CEO Took a “Purposeful Break”

Sometimes we need the reminder to acknowledge where we are right now.

I am always thinking about what’s next at work. (Even on vacation sometimes, like now.) But at our recent, all-team meeting I made a conscious decision to stop. And I did something I have never done before — I interrupted my presentation and asked everyone to stop too. I wanted us all to take a moment to be in the “now.”

It was a purposeful break with a message — the new is not always better than right now. Sometimes now is all there should be.

There is always a new product feature, new project, new goal. There is a new person to interview and a new customer to help. We all tend to get focused on the new. I took that break because I thought we all needed the reminder — to acknowledge where we are. And the timing was right.

See, the entire company was in one large meeting room together — something that only happens twice a year for our fully distributed and global team. And we had some enormous accomplishments to enjoy together. Aha! is now one of the fastest-growing software companies in the United States, serving more than 250,000 users. We even wrote a bestselling book on how we did it.

But we did not achieve those accomplishments by constantly looking ahead — always looking for how big we could grow the company or how fast we could exit. We did it by staying gritty and focusing on the hard work that was right in front of us. And we built a framework for how we do the work right here and now — The Responsive Method (TRM).

TRM is grounded in the belief that interactions with urgency move people and organizations forward. Whether it is a product launch, a customer request, or a teammate’s need, we strive to focus on the issue that is right in front of us. Our team is filled with smart people who are doing good work.

I want us all to remember that life is short — so we should push to be our best every day. And every so often, stop to take pride in each other and what we have accomplished.

That break I took during our meeting was a short one, but it was unusual. I laid down on the floor and counted to 60, which seemed like a very long time to pause during a presentation. And I am glad I did. It was one of the most memorable moments of my career, and I know that the team will remember it too.

I hope that we will also remember this — new is where adventure lies, but the now is where our accomplishments and memories are created.

How do you stop and appreciate the now?

Originally published on the Aha! blog

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