It was a cold but sunny day, fully of the frosty air of winter.

We had intentionally gathered that day, this group of powerful professional women, to practice showing up to our lives.

All are involved in some way, shape or form with health care, all carved out time on this particular day to focus on being with life as it is, all committed to implementing, living really, the practices of mindfulness in their lives and workplaces.

Might seem strange to you, yet this coming together to renew, to replenish is a powerful leadership practice.

We know that successful leaders routinely carve out time to rest, renew, and replenish. We know that successful leaders take time to reflect, to be with what life currently presents to them. We know that successful leaders listen deeply to what matters most, allowing that deep listening to inform the next decisions to be made.

Yet, in our hectic, increasingly frantic day-to-day lives, we rarely take the time to step outside of our routines and simply be, simply renew, simply reflect.  We all have so many reasons, obligations, excuses for not stopping a moment.

That day, however, we chose to stop, to step outside of our daily lives on purpose. I had the privilege of facilitating this day-long retreat, that, by design, provided space for each woman present to be with her self, her life.

A rich experience, the day was full of space, full of honor, full of coming home to larger questions: What’s important in the lives that we live?  What are the obstacles that prohibit us from fully living that importance in our lives? What do we need to turn into and fully face? 

By the afternoon as the sun was moving westward in long shadows,  we closed the day feeling a collective fullness. The room held a certain lightness as each woman, in turn, spoke to the personal importance of simply being present with one another and the moment, of having taken the time to renew.

Today, stop for a moment; be still and listen. Take time to renew.  Ask yourself: What’s important to me?  What gets in my way? What do I need to turn and face? What actions will I take now?

Remember, taking time to renew is a powerful leadership practice. What are you practicing?