Terry Hershey is a nationally celebrated author, humorist, inspirational speaker, ordained minister and golf addict who lives on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. He’s also among the speakers who will be part of Thermostat Cultures Live on Nov. 10 in Columbus, Ohio. Here, the author of The Power of Pause talks about overworking, the importance of being present and what question you should be asking.
Q: Your book The Power of Pause suggests that slowing down can actually move us forward. What’s the crux?
A: Distraction is so high. Distraction and multi-tasking have one thing in common, and that is that you’re not present. And all work requires that you be present, not just for the work but relationally. If we work solely on the premise that we’re getting stuff done, which means that efficiency is probably the goal, then we miss the point.
Q: How does being present tie into workplace culture?
A: To have a culture of respect, you need to be present. What technology does to us—how detached we are or can be—results in fatigue.
Q: It was your own overworking—and subsequent divorce—that made you realize just how intentionally we must build the culture of our lives, both personally and professionally. How did your divorce help reset you?
A: In the clergy business, we had meetings every night. Family—even though we talked a big game—was not top on the priority list. And we rationalized that by saying we were doing ministry. But at some point, you’re going to come face to face with the fact that care of any kind starts with self care. What’s in the tank? What’s in the well? When you’re in the middle of that chaos, you just think that you can juggle it. You try a new trick or technique, and you just buy a book about how to stay awake while you’re juggling. So I literally had to change the paradigm on the way I lived. In my case, 30 years ago, I moved here to live on an island. When I’m traveling, I’m firing on all cylinders. But when I’m home, I’m home. It’s replenishment for me. I write stuff about sanctuaries, and that’s what it became. Where’s your sanctuary?
Q: Where were you living before that?
A: Irvine, California. First question in Irvine was, “How much money do you make?” Second was, “What kind of car do you drive?” And third was, “What neighborhood do you live in—so I know how much your house costs?”
Q: What’s the first question people ask on the island?
A: What’s your favorite Beatles song? [laughing] Actually, if I ran into someone today, it would be, What’s ripe in your garden today?
Q: So what is ripe in your garden today?
A: Beans and onions and cucumber and tomatoes. Blackberries are also in bloom. The goal is to have something every meal from the garden, just for fun.
Q: Short of moving to an island, how else can people create their own sanctuaries?
A: Tell me what nourishes you. Tell me what replenishes you. People are like, “I’m working fulltime, I’m raising a family. You tell me where that 15 minutes to replenish is.” My response is, “OK, 15 minutes.” That’s where people need to start—literally.
Q: You say people aren’t asking the right question. What are they asking that’s wrong?
A: There’s a problem—we’re distracted. We ask, “How can we fix it?” Not, “What caused it in the first place?”
Q: And what is the right question?
A: The right question is, “What choices have I made this week to be grounded?” Because a grounded person is going to be authentic, you’re going to have integrity, and you’re going to be transparent.
Q: What intrigues you enough about Jason and his work to be part of it?
A: I like people who lead from their heart and not their head. I’m always enamored with people who have passion for something that’s bigger than just the product they’re selling. He’s not just interested in making your business more productive, he’s also interested in asking more personal paradigm questions.
Q: What excites you about Thermostat Cultures Live?
A: One of the things I’m grateful for about Jason is that I walk out better because of this event. If my business is better, great. If I learn some things about business, great. If I walk out with connections, great. But I will walk out personally stronger.
Want to join Terry and others at Thermostat Cultures Live? The event is an intimate, interactive day for leaders to connect, learn, grow and thrive. Tickets start at $595 at www.thermostatcultureslive.com.