I’ve been an extra in several films, and the more times I heard that phrase meant the more hours I was going to be spending on set that day. It wasn’t the greatest sentence to hear, but deep down I knew that the intent behind it was to get the scene completed just right. Going “back to ones” time and time again rebooted the scene until it worked.
There are times in our lives where we need to reboot ourselves. We get stuck in a pattern, follow the wrong path for too long or simply need a jolt; that’s when rebooting can be the best thing we can do.
Think about when you reboot a computer: you’re essentially changing how it is currently functioning (usually slowly and sluggishly) and getting it back to where it was when you first powered it up. You’re not changing the entirety of the computer, just the way it is currently operating. When you reboot yourself, you’re doing the same thing. You’re not changing the inner workings of yourself, you’re changing how you’re currently operating.
But rebooting yourself isn’t as easy as pressing a power button or holding down control-alt-delete. There’s more to it than that.
When you are going about the reboot process, you need to step back and steer clear of whatever it is that you’re doing that is causing the need to reboot. That may mean taking a day off work mid-week or taking a trip to get away from it all so that you can get clear with yourself. Regardless, it has to be something that you would not normally do.
Calling in sick mid-week or taking one of your vacation days to break the pattern of a steady work week is one method. Using paid vacation to go as far away from what’s got you stuck is another. This isn’t running away from the problem; this is putting yourself in a place where you can really look at it and decide what the next step is. The goal is to reset yourself and you can’t do that when you’re still “on”.
Once you’ve taken the time to get clear on your next move, take the time to enjoy that moment. When a computer reboots it takes a bit of time to refresh itself. You don’t press the power button and see it instantly turn back on. It spends time getting ready for what’s next. That’s what you need to do.
You need to reflect on what you’ve decided to do and why you’ve decided to do it, and then look forward to what’s next. There’s no clutter involved, no stress. You’re just warming up. You’re getting ready to go. That takes time and energy. So rest up… and then go.
Now that you’re clear and rested, recognize what you’re going to do to keep operating at the level you need to without having to reboot again anytime soon. Rebooting slows you down initially but once you’re up and running again you start to progress rapidly — as long as you stay focussed on what your intention is. You need to recognize this and act on it, otherwise you’ll be rebooting yourself again far too soon.
If you do end up having to reboot yourself too often for your liking, then there’s a bigger problem. You’re worn out in the current situation and no reboot can sustain you for very long. That’s when you need an overhaul.
Coming to this conclusion also takes recognition on your part, so having the awareness to recognize yourself in the rebooting process can save you a ton of time, energy and suffering in the future. As with a computer, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to constantly be rebooted. Recognize when a reboot works and when an upgrade is in order. It’s not just a time-saver — it’s a lifesaver.
Just as being stuck can be a stick in the craw of your productivity, so can not knowing how to get yourself unstuck. The next time you feel that you’d be better off just trudging through your difficulties, think about giving yourself a reboot. It may just be the wake-up call you need, and now you’ve got the tools to get it done.
Don’t quit on yourself and your situation. Take a page from technology and “force quit” what’s going on and fire yourself up again. You may find out a lot more about what’s going on inside you and whether or not you need to refresh your life — or if you need to upgrade it.
By Mike Vardy