3 Reasons Why The Creative Leader Seeks Solitude


Our lives are so fast these days and we’re always plugged in…phones, laptops, or even just plain old television.  Do you ever wonder what would happen if we took some time out to clear our thoughts without being worried that we’ve missed a super important email?  I do and that’s why I wrote this post about the steps required to be an effective leader.  The foundation of that post was a great article called Solitude and Leadership and it’s also the basis of this post from Daniel Coyle, the author of The Talent Code called Have You Had Your Vitamin S Today? Societally, we think that being alone is bad (being a “loner” isn’t a good thing, right?), so we try our hardest to always be surrounded with people.

Coyle talks about solitude as being a daily requirement, rather than some rarity that we look forward to…like a vacation.  As a matter of fact, he talks about the three things that should be hallmarks of solitude: it’s got to be reliable, it’s got to last, and it’s got to be repeatable.  Since you’re probably reading this on your laptop or phone, you may think this message is a bit ironic.  But I know that I’ve gotten great revelations just by taking time to chill…whether it’s by running, or driving in a silent car, or just going for a good, long walk.  If you’re interested in more ideas on how to find solitude, check out this article: The Lost Art of Solitude.  Here are a few reasons why I believe that solitude brings out the creative juices in us all.

3 reasons why solitude will make you a more effective leader and coach

  • Time for thought and to reflect. I’m a go-with-my-gut kinda lady…and it’s hard to hear what my gut is saying if I’m always ripping and running.  Sometimes I’ve got to get away from all of the noise, be by myself, and think about what’s going on.  Whether it’s a player issue, a big time recruit I’d love to land, or on-court tactical issues…I generally get my best ideas in solitude.
  • Find our own voice. I know that you’re fired up about being a great leader and you probably read all sorts of great stuff about how to become a better coach.  At some point though, you’ve got to sift through all of the things you’ve heard, read, and seen and decide what you believe.  I’m an avid reader…love, love, love to read!  Years ago, I decided that “my thing” would be advocating for female athletes and coaches…now everything I read is through that lens.
  • Space to create. All of that reflecting and thinking would be nothing if we didn’t use it to come up with creative answers to our problems.  I think that too often we get it wrong with creativity.  We think it’s the artist or the painter or the sculptor who is “creative”.  But what about the coach who’s on a losing streak, but figures out how to start winning?  I think that is very creative.  Let’s broaden our definition of who gets to be creative and start applying that mindset to our teams!

I wonder if we could all carve out at least thirty minutes a day to be all alone with our thoughts…something tells me that we can.