A key element of being a disruptor for 4iforum is to be conscious and curious about the language that people use during dialogue. The language we use creates meaning, and a shared understanding within our culture, whether that is in our organisation or society at large.

Within our lockdown bubble, there has been a push back about the toxic productivity that is being promoted with many people sharing their “be your best self” activity, which makes us all feel guilty that we haven’t written a book, painted all the walls in our house with amazing motives, or taken part in weekly quizzes and sing a longs. For many, the fact that we get up in the morning, get dressed and start our day at 9am is an achievement. Home educating two kids with autism, whilst both my husband and I try to work full time, and I my involvement in kicking off the 4iforum as well as the additional stressors of lockdown has been exhausting.
With it being half term this week, my family have decided to take a break – we can’t go on holiday but we can walk away from the routine. So I spent this weekend “doing nothing” and “being lazy.”

That language is loaded with negative connotations. Even the word lockdown is taking something away from us rather than adding an important layer of protection for our nation. Social distancing is a nonsequitur, because in reality I have had more social time in lockdown than I did before lockdown. I zoom, facetime and video call my family, friends and colleagues more than ever before, and I have more family time in one week than I probably managed in a month. Physical distancing yes, but not social distancing.

During a Whatsapp conversation with my friend whilst I was “lazing in bed” yesterday afternoon I had a moment of revelation that the way we talk about rest is that we are somehow taking away from what we should be doing. I have a clear memory of reading a Toad and Frog story in which Frog told Toad, who was not doing his chores “Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today.” What a powerful lesson I took from that. I can’t leave something undone. I feel guilty if I am “slobbing out” and “binge-watching” a box set.

But in feeling guilty about resting and eating up my time getting things done, what I am leaving undone is my wellbeing, my physical rest and recuperation. You can’t improve your wellbeing if you spend time when you should be sleeping with thoughts whirring around your head. I struggle to sit still when I can see something that needs to be done.

Resting is hard work. Taking time to invest in our wellbeing needs to be intentional, organised and purposeful – and in doing more of it. In being deliberate about prioritising our well being we become empowered to function to our full potential, more productive in our work and resilient to stress. We become MORE when we DO rest.

So lets change the language we use to describe rest. I have asked my friend to be my learning buddy, to check in with each other to reframe how we talk about rest and positively investing in time for our wellbeing, because wellbeing is something we should all prioritise and invest time in.



  1. A great read, as ever, Carrie. It’s nearly 6pm; my nephew is staying with us and he certainly needs some family support to keep battling with the many crocodiles jumping at his particular canoe. And I guess I should go and help my wife make the evening meal. And I will do that shortly, after sending this note. When I think of ‘rest’, I confess that my mind often races to the idea that ‘some sections of our society have no idea of what real tiredness is – they have a low threshold…’. Anyway, rather than rabbit on, I’d challenge you to watch this video – please overcome our UK attitude which will baulk at the sycophancy from the interviewer (because the interviewee is something of a legend in that world) – and see if you, like me, spark over his comment about “Sharpen your axe”: See you on the 16th of July, insha’allah!

    • What an inspiring interview with Colonel Eric Springer. Really enjoyed listening to him speak. When I think about sharpening your axe, which comes from Stephen Covey, it makes me think about…thinking. Our forums are designed for exactly that purpose. I am hoping “sparks will fly” and “axes” will be sharpened for everyone who takes part in our community. Thank you for sharing this content… and I think I can forgive the interviewer for the sycophancy… I’m joining the fan club. I look forward to thinking about thinking with you!

      • Let me see if another clip makes you think any more! It certainly did for me. Once again, I have to accept that ‘facilitators’ who gush over their guest tend to put me off and yet I must ‘push through’ to the gems that follow (now I’m the one doing the gushing…). The individual here is a retired US Army General called Martin Dempsey. Now this is a man who has done some serious thinking throughout his life and especially now that he has ‘retired’ and ‘just’ writing the occasional book. “Radical Inclusion” and “No Time for Spectators” both offer thinking that are relevant for all, whether military or civilian, American or any other nation on earth. In this session, you will hear about how to get the best from people and that essential relationship between leaders and followers. As but one example of a phrase I really like: in the context of seeking that ever elusive thing we call ‘innovation’, a leader has to be humble and courageous enough to foster “responsible rebelliousness”. See it all here:

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