I've shared with you insights on high performers before. One of my favorites relates to an old story about Bill Gates.
While it's hard to believe you don't know who Bill Gates is, you may only know of his work with the Gates Foundation. But before that, he was the CEO of Microsoft – running a software company with double digit growth for several years.
When you're the CEO of a company like that, guess what? You're busy. Very. Busy.
Taking a Week to Read
So what Bill would do, every single year, would be to ask all his friends to recommend books, white papers, PhD dissertations and more reading that they thought he really needed to read.
He'd take a week off and spend a week reading. That's all he did. Read. For a whole week.
Can you imagine doing that? Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But I know the difference it can make.
Every year since I read about Bill's habit, I started trying to do something similar. Now, over 15 years later, I take a week off every year to do nothing.
I rest. I relax. I read.
Reading Breaks = Perspective
The other morning I walked out onto the beach where I'm staying for a week and I saw a lifeguard tower. At that moment I just had to snap a photo because the message was so clear.
If you want to see everything going on around you, in case you need to save someone, you don't do it from the beach. You get yourself to a higher position to get perspective.
When I spend time reading books, articles, and journals, what I get is a perspective I can't get from my own life. Getting that outside perspective, from a different vantage point, helps me rethink my frameworks. It helps me rethink my approaches. It helps encourage me in the things I need to do more of.
So while I'll be writing once a day this week, most of my time won't be writing. Instead I'll be reading. Because reading gives me perspective.
What are you Reading?
Do you have blogs, journals, and books that you have loved this past year? Other than two “julian” books my wife bought for our kids, you can see my recent purchase for June's reading (starting today).