Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “There are two things parents should give their children: roots and wings.

…and what about leaders?

Lunch breaks have always been a good moment of my day. In my corporate
years, I sometimes had lunch on my own, reflecting about life or reading in a
cosy cafe. When I shared the meal with some colleagues and friends, the topic
was often a conceptual one. These conversations provided oxygen and brought us
back to the roots.

This series will include some of the concepts that were shared over a
meal, hoping for more conversations to occur. If the roots are solid, the wings
lead to the sky.

Enjoy the breaks!

Lunch break #1– Consciousness

“It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

One day in October I was having lunch on my own, when I saw the essay
“De Brevitate Vitae” lying on the table. I had read the book twice already in
my native language, but it “called me” again. The words of Seneca always hit me
with the same power, no matter how often I read them: “You act like mortals in
all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire”. I remember
me looking outside the window and telling to myself: “Why if I know this, I am
not really applying it?”

Seneca went on: “The part of life we really live is small. For all the
rest of existence is not life, but merely time.” His call to consciousness was
strong. He invited me to be “time-conscious” and be mindful on the way I was
giving away the most precious resource I possessed.

The word “consciousness” stems from the Latin conscientia, conscire,
that is cum (with) and scire (knowledge). To me it means be awake and be aware
of what we are doing with our days and ultimately, our existence.

Time-consciousness is one of my favourite criteria when looking for role
models. The way leaders deal with their and other people’s time signals the way
they think and execute. I like to consider leaders as examples of excellent
time-consciousness, that is, examples of lives lived fully and honouring the
precious gift of time.

My commitment that day was to be increasingly more conscious of the way
I spend my time and the time I demand from others. The actions I took were
linked to freeing up space and time. Material decluttering, questioning every
item on my to-do list, freeing up as much space as possible in my calendar.
Essentially, I planned to have and do less and this allowed me to focus my
energy on what matters the most to me.

Which are your ways of being more time-conscious and fully living your days?