Purposeful Nothingness

To Do ListOur Western culture is so busy doing. We live in an outcomes-oriented society where our success often depends on our achievements: Do more. Be better. Keep moving. Succeed. This fast-paced lifestyle contributes to increasing stress levels, health problems, and high rates of burnout. And burnout all-too-often leads to tune-out where we run ourselves so ragged that we have to unplug from everything to escape the very life we’ve created with our ongoing busy-ness. But what are we so busy doing?

In the midst of all this doing, how often do we simply do nothing on purpose? I mean intentionally setting aside time to simply “be” instead of “do” all the time. I have started asking myself the following provocative question when I get into the habit of living life at a breakneck pace: Leslie, how are you honoring that you’re a human being…not just a human doing?

business-man-doing-nothingConsider the benefit of unplanned time. (*gasp* did a pre-disposed super-planner actually just say this?!) Surprisingly, there is unspoken purpose and extreme benefit behind doing absolutely nothing!

Dr. Ichak Adizes, one of the world’s leading experts in organizational performance and change, shares that “having nothing to do can create the opportunity to make a strategic change in ones life. What may seem to be a problem could be a blessing in disguise.”

By intentionally doing nothing, you have time to consider what you truly want for your future and begin to set plans in motion to make this happen.


And there are tremendous physical and psychological benefits to doing nothing. Practitioners of mindfulness meditation and other forms of contemplative practice teach the importance of letting go of the desire for acquisition and performance in order to let the mind rest. The effect of this restful state on one’s body and mind allows regeneration, renewal, and revival (and it’s cheaper and more effective than a caffeine boost!).

And as Energy Management expects, Jim Loer and Tony Schwartz, share in their book, The Power of Full Engagement, our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and renew energy. This process called oscillation helps us maximize our performance when we’re “on” and fully recover and rest when we’re not. Through their reach they found that:

  • Too much energy expenditure without sufficient recovery eventually leads to burnout or breakdown (over-use it and lose it)
  • Too much recovery without sufficient stress leads to atrophy and weakness (use it or lose it)
  • We’re hard-wired to pulse and are most productive when we move between expending energy and intermittently renewing energy

So it’s not intensity that produces burnout, but the duration of energy expenditure without adequate recovery!

Because our activity and rest patterns are tied to circadian rhythms in our body, we have a 90 – 120 minute attention span before our body begins to crave rest and recovery. That’s where purposeful nothingness comes in!


unplug-when-not-in-useIntentionally unplug. “You will never find the time to do nothing; you have to consciously and intentionally take the time to do nothing,” shares Dr. Adizes. Try sitting outside and watching the sunset or looking up into a star-filled night sky.

Take a moment to pause in the middle of your workday and breathe deeply, remembering that you are a living, growing, amazing person. Notice the wave of calm and relaxation that often follows from these simple and mindless actions. Your heart rate slows, your breath deepens, and a smile may even begin to form at the corners of your mouth.

Now you may be thinking, “Okay, Leslie, but who will [fill in your “doing” tasks here: Do my work? Clean my house? Pay my bills?] if I’m doing nothing? How does this really work?”

images-1I’m not advocating doing nothing all the time because that would lead to replacing extreme busy-ness with perpetual laziness. Rather, I’m asking you to simply try on purposeful nothingness as an alternative to running on high-octane fuel on all cylinders all the time.

To do nothing, try these three easy steps:

  1. Stop doing your normal routine – Hit the brakes on whatever is keeping you so busy and intentionally pause.
  2. Dedicate five minutes to mindlessness – Find a quiet, uninterrupted place to simply do nothing.
  3. Reflect on the impact of this break before jumping back into your busy life – What was it like to make this time to “be” instead of “do”? How can you build more “being” into your daily life?

doing-nothing-129909473216_xlargeSo the next time you feel the urge to do more, try doing nothing for a change and see how it feels. While it may seem uncomfortable or abnormal at first, training your body and brain to pause, recalibrate, and reenergize is crucial to allow yourself the capacity to create and continue doing, while practicing being.

Create a great day,

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Leslie Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC

Leadership Coach & Culture Consultant
Call: 310.409.9240

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My Word of the Year

You’re halfway through January 2015.

How are you doing?

a9c2558aaf117ecd02caa23f1fe99353Maybe you’re on track with any personal goals or New Year’s resolutions you set. Or maybe you’re already feeling like you’re falling behind. Instead of beating yourself up or taking on an enormous new task, I want to offer you something more powerful and lasting.

I recently shared why setting intentions is more powerful than making resolutions, and today, I’m going to take it to the next level so you can get really grounded in what 2015 has to offer!

If you haven’t already set an intention for how you want to live out the next 50 weeks of your life, here’s a simple exercise that will help get your creative juices flowing.

What you’ll need:

  • One blank piece of paper
  • Timer (watch or cell phone)
  • Pen
  • Clean jar
  • Small stack of post-it notes
  • Your choice or art supplies (markers, paint, etc)
  • Lots of creativity

Let’s Begin:

Fold your piece of paper in half

Set a timer for 90 seconds and START

On the left side of the paper, write down everything you’re letting go of or releasing. Think of the STUFF you’ve had enough of or don’t want in your life anymore (things like comparing myself to others, road rage, or emotional eating)

Once your 90 seconds are up, take a moment to read over this list and really take stock in what you’re choosing to NOT DO and then make a personal commitment to really STOP doing them.

Now reset the timer for another 90 seconds and START again, this time focusing on the positives.

2d5917ecfc021c77427e81acd2060edfOn the right side of your page, capture what you want to fully embrace this year. These are all the good things that make your life richer and more meaningful (time with close friends and family, nutritious food, bubble baths, lunchtime walks, weekend getaways, etc.)

This list should point toward a very powerful intention or theme for your year ahead. I like to call this my Word of the Year. Write down any words or short phrases that really embody the list you just made. Some of my favorites are create, discover, wellness, and passion.

Once you have chosen your Word of the Year, the fun really begins! Take the clean jar and label it with your word using any art supplies you like. Just like jars are typically filled with something really delicious, this is your time to make your personal “ingredients list” for what values, strengths, characteristics, and qualities will help you fully live out your Word of the Year.

10923756_10104046147015766_3104036175885306134_nFor example, my 2015 Word of the Year is GROW since I want to both stretch my personal limits, but more profoundly because we’re expecting our first baby in July. So some of my “growth ingredients” include pregnancy, play, learning, rest, and getting uncomfortable, among others.

Once you have created your ingredients list, it’s time to prioritize it and put it on your jar. Here’s what mine looks like:


Whaaaaaalaaaaaaaaa! You now have a beautiful jar that’s ready to capture everything that your year holds for you! Your job now is to FILL IT UP with experiences, interactions, and lessons learned that support your Word of the Year. Every time you do, think, say, or create something that supports your 2015 intention, capture it and put it in your jar (this is where those post it notes or small strips of paper come in handy).

Throughout your year, your jar will fill up and serve as a great reinforcing agent for intentional living. A sweet New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day ritual is to take some time to reflect on each thing you placed into your jar and really take stock of how the previous year helped you meet your intention. Then, you can set a new intention for the year ahead and start over!

77f56e0139126de1dd9f004c9741668aWhat’s your 2015 Word of the Year? Please share it with me along with photos of your Intention Jars. I wish you a beautiful year ahead of intentional living!

Create a great day,

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Leslie Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC

Leadership Coach & Culture Consultant
Call: 310.409.9240

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Intentions v. Resolutions

What’s your 2015 intention?


Really think about it. How do you want to live out the next year?




new year 2015 written in sand

Take a moment to get really clear on what you desire for 2015.

While you may have a list of New Year’s Resolutions, intention setting is very different.

Resolutions focus on actions. Intentions focus on attitudes. Tweet This!


In order to make any headway on your list of resolutions and personal goals, you first need to be grounded in how you want to live and what this looks and feels like.

Far too often, this becomes the afterthought or byproduct of a hurried and frazzled life, rather than the other way around.

Imagine what it would be like if your life was full of energy, motivation, ease, and flow.


What would be possible then?


ac58ed8db9699fcbc2c11447cfd7a2b0Last year, I shared a very special New Year’s post that focused on how to create your Personal Manifesto. And it was so popular that I want to offer complimentary copies of my Manifesto Makeover Guide again to the first 15 people who comment on my business page under this post with their 2015 intention. Click here to comment and claim your complimentary copy of my Manifesto Makeover!


Investing In Personal Mastery

fb8b9a83af19e2c1272e5e616ca3a00cFor the past few months, I’ve been dreaming and designing something truly revolutionary! And I want to give you a sneak peek into my newest offering that will be launching later this year. My Uplevel Your Leadership™ Masterclass is exclusively designed to help leaders grow their skills toward personal mastery, while making significant and sustainable progress on a goal in only three months.

This comprehensive experience includes six core Leadership Modules, Professional Coaching Sessions, and the support of a live Mastermind Community. Learn more about this Masterclass now and sign up to be on the early notification list so you’re the first to know when registration opens!

Make 2015 a year to remember!


Create a great day,

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Leslie Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC

Leadership Coach & Culture Consultant
Call: 310.409.9240

Subscribe here to stay connected!