The Hidden Power of Rest

We live in the era of hidden advantages.

Every day highly successful individuals search for the next great way to optimize their lives.The truth is, one of the greatest ways to increase your productivity is right at your fingertips, and it’s something we’ve probably all struggled with at some point in our lives. I believe that rest is the key to not only surviving but thriving in your job and in life. 

In today’s culture, there is a feeling of guilt associated with rest, rather than it being seen as an indication of courage. According to a report by Fortune Magazine, a lack of sleep among the U.S. workforce costs approximately $411 billion and results in a loss of 1.2 million working days per year. This shocking statistic is because people do not set aside time to rest, thus making them less productive day to day.  

Work, school, and other non-negotiables will always be a part of life, but leaders must still learn to say “no.” Having the ability to navigate decisions and prioritize your health is a sign of strength, not weakness. One of the biggest misconceptions is that to succeed, you must work without ceasing. There is value in taking a moment to stop, rest, and reflect. I have had the opportunity to connect with many talented business leaders involved in rising media companies. One pattern that I noticed is their lack of longevity in their company and work. They were being surpassed by those less qualified and talented. Why? Because they did not know when to take intentional time for themselves to reset. These leaders chose to spread themselves too thin, causing a lack of motivation that quickly turned to burnout. 

Many people use the excuse, “I don’t have time to rest.” Overworking will lead to self-exhaustion, and eventually, overflow into other areas of your life. Stress is currently the number one cause of health problems– both mentally and physically. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that stress levels at work are higher than ever and that health care expenditures are up nearly 50 percent. Taking a moment to rest and recoup can drastically improve your life. View your moments of rest as an essential investment instead of a chore. It will pay off above and beyond mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically later down the road. Moments of intentional rest will recharge your mind and give you a renewed ability to handle your relationships, schedule, and health.  

If you are one of the many who get caught up in a life of busyness, take time to figure out some activities that recharge you. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the first recommendation for restoring passion about work is to “call a time-out.” Whether it is one day a week, or a few moments each day, choose a specific time to rest and rejuvenate. This time is essential to satisfaction in life. There is a direct correlation between your physical and mental health. When you learn to balance the two, you are choosing to respect yourself and those around you. 

On my podcast, Framework Leadership, I asked some of today’s most industrious leaders from the church, business, and sports world, “If you were mandated by your company to take the perfect day off, what would that look like?” Here is how they answered:  

1) Gabrielle Boche, Founder of the Millennial Solution 

“My husband and I love talking to new people about their purpose. If I could go somewhere cool and exotic, that would be great! Talking to people about what they love to do is one of the most energizing things. Good views and good conversation make for a perfect day.” 

2) Jimmy Rollins, Senior Pastor of i5 City Church

“My perfect day off includes a sleeve of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls, my golf clubs, a good friend, jokes – not talking about ministry (preferably at Pebble Beach), and playing golf. Having a day where I just disconnect and take in God’s nature and God’s character – just resting…disconnected.” 

3) Mo Isom, New York Times Best-Selling Author and NCAA Athlete

“First off, I would just sleep. I would sleep in so long. I have a two-year-old and a one-year-old and am up at all hours of the night…I would sleep in. Fall weather in Georgia inspires me. It would be a day with my family outside; whether it’s hiking or at the park… a perfect day is time with my husband and my girls.” 

4) Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free Chapel

“I love to run. I’m a runner, so I’d go for a run as soon as I got up… that’s my prayer time. I’d love to spend it with my wife and grandkids – I’ve got four grandkids. That’s a perfect day for me…just hanging out and maybe going to see a movie with my wife!” 

5) Mark Sanborn, Best-Selling Author and President of Sanborn & Associates, Inc. 

“I’d still get up early in the morning – that’s just the way I’m wired. I would spend a little more time exercising because I often don’t have as much time to do that as I’d like. I would probably take my wife to brunch because she’s going to think it’s amazing that I have time off to do something during the day. Then, I’d spend some time outside in the Colorado Rockies and finish the day with some uninterrupted reading.” 

These leaders have seen the value in taking personal time to hit the “reset” button. From operating their businesses or churches and managing family life, these professionals continue to set aside time for themselves. If they can do it, you can as well. I want to encourage you to reflect on your schedule and intentionally set aside moments when you can rest. You will begin to see the difference it makes in your energy levels, motivation, and overall view of life.