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Want Serious Growth? Get off the dance floor and up on the balcony.
By Peleg Top

What if I told you that the more time you spend away from your work the better that work will be?

Remember the last time you went dancing at a dance club? It's fun to be on the dance floor, to lose yourself to the music, to interact with other people and to lose track of time. And then there's the moment when you need to rest for a bit, to take a breath, to regain your energy. So you go up to the balcony, have a drink and watch the people dancing down below.

When you travel up to the balcony, you can lean over the railing and observe the dance floor from this new vantage point. You can see the entire dance floor as one moving piece, and you are separated from the experience. You gain a new perspective. And this is exactly what your business needs from time to time.

Healthy leadership requires moving from the balcony, to the dance floor (your daily activities and operations) and back again-a constant shift in perspective so that we not only understand the big picture, but also our individual role in the actions we take and how they impact the world around us.

Once a year I give myself some "balcony time" - where I get off the dance floor and get up on the "balcony" to watch the dance and get better perspective on what's really going on. I take myself on a personal retreat where I step out of my day to day activities, unplug from technology and gift myself time to think, reflect and create what's next for me and my business. This time is not a vacation. It's essential to the growth of my business.

Inevitably, every retreat I take leads to some change and growth. It's a bit counter intuitive to think that resting leads to growth but that's pretty much in line with how nature works. Our bodies heal and grow when we rest. Ask any body-builder. His muscles grow not when he's lifting weights but rather when his body is resting and being nourished with healthy food.

Your business is no different. Unless you devote time to step back, reflect and assess, you won't allow yourself - and your business - time to heal and grow. I've heard many business owners say that they can't afford take away time from their business, but in reality, they can't afford not to. In fact, the health of your business depends on the time you spend away from it.

Here are a few suggestions for creating balcony time for yourself:

  1. Schedule it way in advance. Unless it's in your calendar, chances are it won't happen. Give yourself enough time to be able to prepare and look forward to it. I recommend at least 3 days.
  2. Go away. Far away. Leave town (or state) to create true distance between you and your everyday life and get away from the temptation of getting sucked into your everyday environment.
  3. Make it fun and luxurious. Include activities you enjoy and ones that ignite your creativity and enthusiasm. Make it a special occasion where you treat yourself.
  4. Go with someone. Invite a close colleague or create a group of like-minded people who can go through this process with you. Accountability can play a big role in this process and other people can help you gain even better perspective.
  5. Get guidance. Hire someone (a coach or mentor) to lead you through this process.

It is essential that you take the time to get on the balcony so you can gain a different perspective and see situations more clearly and then intervene more skillfully when you go back to the dance floor. Try experimenting with it a little; it's worth it for a healthier you and clearer vision going forward.

Peleg Top is a business coach, spiritual director, artist and poet. He leads personal coaching retreats for creative business owners worldwide and teaches leadership workshops for creative teams.