Bonjour, friends! I’m writing to you from my new favorite café in France (La Boîte a Café) that makes a great cup of Ethiopian coffee and even better croissants. I’ve been here for 3 days and I’ve had at least 1 croissant/day. #wheninfrance
I’m going to work from France for a while, so I can’t wait to write more about my experience and what I’ve learned here. Would you like to read more about not only my experience here but also what I think we can all learn from different cultures that may help us in our lives & businesses?
I have SO many observations and thoughts so far that I can’t wait to share with you. I can’t help but notice everything about their food/eating culture, the way they dress, and perhaps most stark of all, how much better they seem to be at being present and relaxing.
I’m sitting in this cafe right now working from my giant MacBook, eating a croissant, and drinking my ‘filter’ coffee (as they call it). There are 1 or 2 other people working on their computers right now (1 is my husband and the other is probably American, too lol!), but the rest of everyone in the cafe is reading or chatting with a friend.
When the baristas talk to one another between customers coming in, they whisper. It’s like even they are conscious of not wanting to impede or interrupt anyone else’s experience. Amazing.
There’s even a woman (about my age) just sitting drinking a cappuccino. That’s it. She’s just drinking her cappuccino. No iPhone, laptop, or anything else in sight. She looks so relaxed.
I’m not thinking or saying we should all do this all the time — we all have to get work done, right?! But when do we ever do this? When do we ever just sit and relax? When do we do something in our day where we’re totally and completely present?
I think this is hitting me so hard because it’s something I was really struggling with before we left for France. I found myself increasingly busy in the business (thank goodness — busy in business is GOOD), and I was struggling to balance things. I felt really distracted and frazzled. I kept forgetting things, leaving things places, and finding myself really distracted when I “wasn’t working” (which was never).
I think being here, or just getting out of my normal day-to-day environment, is going to help me see how much of that distractedness is self-induced.
I also think it’s going to stir up some new inspiration for me. I really, really want to write more about everything I’m seeing here and how I think it could help all of us. Hopefully you’d be interested in reading about that, too.
But you don’t need to move overseas for a little while to find inspiration. At home, when I needed inspiration, I would:
- Change up my work environment, whether it’s a different place within the house, going out, or just changing up my office/desk layout. I recently added some succulents (because they’re the only thing I can’t kill — or at least it takes longer to kill it) and a few new candles to my desk.
- Plan a day to change locations — for me, that meant taking a train into the city to work from a cafe there for the day or drive 30+ minutes to Princeton to soak up the intelligent air.
- Take a 30 minute walk + get some fresh air. Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away from your house. When the timer goes off, turn around & come back.
- Find a work date friend. Cameron is my go-to work date friend & I always feel better after a few hours of working side by side with her.
- Attend a workshop, conference, or some kind of get together with other people in your field. I love attending workshops & conferences for women entrepreneurs. After I leave there, I feel like I can do anything & I’m so inspired by what my entrepreneur-sisters are doing.
What do you think of those options? What do you do when you need some fresh inspiration in your life or business?
I’d also love to hear whether you’d like to hear more about this trip & what we can take away from what I’m learning here.