"The Deep Dive"

"The Deep Dive"


Let's talk about how to create a practice of doing deep dives. It is, sadly, becoming a lost skill and practice.

It was a real pleasure to hear Cal Newport speak recently in Charlotte, NC at the International Coach Federation Global Leaders Forum. Here is a quote from his book promotion page that gives you a glimpse in to what he’s focused on:

“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship.”

He highlights many great thinkers and the strategies they used to be able to get to their deep work - like a getaway place that was remote or closed off to others.

Check out his excellent book if you like:  http://calnewport.com/books/deep-work/

Some of the great works that we can think of in literature or great thinkers from any field of study have been born out of this practice.

What can that look like for you?

It might not be feasible to start with a week in a cabin. Maybe it's a day per month. Maybe it's a retreat once per year.

Here's what's tempting to do. We carve out a space for strategic thinking and then we fill it with busy work. We love the practice because we get lots done. However, that is not the point of these "deep work" times.

As Cal Newport said 'you have to get comfortable with being bored'. Being willing to let ideas brew and let your mind wonder is easier said than done. We have lived lives, most of us, of being busy busy busy.

Beyond being comfortable with boredom I think we have to be comfortable with our emotions. We often use our busyness to keep us from feeling and dealing with life's pains, disappointments and losses. When we stop they have a chance to surface.

We can get stuck between paying attention to our heart and our head. Sometimes the wise thing is to stop and process the emotions so that the creative thinking can happen more easily.


Where is your thinking retreat space? 

What would your next step in deep diving be?

What amazing ideas are waiting to be birthed by your deep work?

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