Last night, a client unexpectedly pushed back an evening meeting, so I had the rare opportunity of time. I chose to have dinner alone at an outside cafe and stroll through a charming little town, and ended up so grateful for the gift of time.
I don’t know when I became comfortable with the idea of dinner alone. In the last decade, I’ve traveled alone, purposefully choosing a week of solitude in unknown locales to gift myself with discovery and exploration. You hear new sounds, notice new details, have conversations of pondering in your head and read books and magazines while sipping wine.
Last night, it was barely an hour, but I loved it nonetheless. I tasted my food, sipped the wine (yes, a glass of Pinot Grigio before a client meeting is not a horrible thing) and basked in the evening sunlight and breezes of an early summer day.
Nearby, there were fountains spraying and kids playing and mothers pushing swings. So many restaurants with outdoor seating. I read industry magazines, bettering what I do and how I do it.
As I progress in this career, I am learning the art of the instinct. That gut-level conversation that tells you whether to take on a client or not. In one of the articles, a large public relations agency was quoted as saying they only work with clients who are nice, successful and there was a third characteristic that I can’t remember. They said two out of three wouldn’t cut it.
Wow, what criteria for work! It makes perfect sense. Shouldn’t we apply criteria like that to our own lives?
Time spent alone is time to be cherished. Time to reflect and reveal what really matters. Time to understand the nuances of the Self. Time to listen to the heart beating and know it’s the core of everything that we do.
Doing business with heart means doing it with passion, with kindness and with smarts. Two out of three won’t cut it.
Today, I’m taking a break from business, so that dinner alone was a perfect segue from a busy business-focused week into the quiet of the first day of summer vacation.
This morning, it’s still cool outside and only one of my little ones is awake. I’ll meditate, make coffee, snuggle close. Eventually, we’ll do a yoga class, maybe after reading, or talking, or playing tennis against the garage, or all of the above.
And then I promised to take them to the pool. Still cold for me, but perfect for kids salivating at the thought of a summer swim.
Listening to the moments, really noticing them, that’s what matters. Nothing more, nothing less.