My oldest daughter has had an exciting week! She was in a community theater production of Cats and then had a new belt test in karate. She absolutely nailed both, of course. She’s incredible.
A particular piece of wisdom came my way while watching her belt test. Her instructor was having them do push-ups and was (as all good instructors do) pushing them well outside of the number they were comfortable with. And as she was pushing them and counting their reps, she told them:
“Keep going until you can’t go anymore and you need a break. But remember: when you need a break, take your break in the ‘up’ position. Don’t collapse on the floor. That’s the kind of break you don’t come back from.”
Breaks are important. We’re not machines and we can’t work constantly at our highest pace. But oh what a difference there is between a break and quitting for the day (or forever)! And this is a powerful piece of advice about separating the two.
If I’m writing and I need a break, there’s a world of difference between a walk around the block and sitting on the couch and grabbing the remote. One is a break that keeps me in the ‘up position’ – thinking, active, brain still firing. The other isn’t a break at all; it’s me throwing in the towel for the day.
And when you need to throw in the towel – do it! That’s okay. But don’t lie to yourself. If you really only want a break and truly want to get back to it after a brief pause, just remember. Stay in the up position.