Picture that yourself: You’re 19 getting ready to compete in the Alpine ski race of your career, in your hometown, in front of thousands of cheering fans and broadcast on national television. You’re seeking redemption having failed to medal in your last previous races despite the fact you are the reining Olympic Gold Medal Champion.
The stress is palpable. Many a seasoned athlete might crumble from the stress. Not Mikaela Shiffrin, the youngest person ever to win the Olympic gold medal in slalom skiing. She did the unthinkable: SHE TOOK A NAP!!
That’s right. The best skiers from across the globe had gathered to compete in the World Championships to secure their place in history, and the hometown favorite decided to take a nap — and she won.
I have always been a big fan of taking naps. This is not the most popular confession in today’s society with our frenetic pace and obsession with multitasking.
Unplugging, recharging, checking out, call it what you may, I am a firm believer that it works. How many times have we looked at the same spreadsheet only to miss the glaringly obvious mistake in our calculations? Or the missed opportunity that we dismiss because we are too tired to spend the time it takes to think out of the box and consider something new.
Recharging can take many forms so pick the ones that work best for you. My husband and I like to get away from the frenetic pace of our lives by spending time at our lake home that is far away from the noise and stress. But we don’t always have the luxury to take a long trip so I suggest thinking about those every day activities that allow us to refresh and recharge – take a yoga class, a walk in a forest preserve, or relaxing by the fire with a good book.
The irony is that if we take the time to step back and recharge we can come back to our greatest challenges with a renewed sense of inspiration and purpose.
So the next time you are faced with a challenge, think about the power of taking a nap. And you just might win a gold medal.