Veteran, author, and CEO Mike Erwin shares how solitude can make you a better leader

by | Nov 11, 2019 | Self-Leadership, Strategies and Tips

The Sanger Leadership Center joined members of the Michigan Leadership Collaborative on Wednesday, November 6, to welcome Mike Erwin to campus. Mike is the CEO of the Character & Leadership Center, president of The Positivity Project, and co-author of the book Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude. He spoke to a full crowd at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy about his topic, “In A Distracted World, Solitude is Practice for Tomorrow’s Leaders.”

Here are our key takeaways from the talk:

  • t’s rare that we dictate our own thoughts. With smartphones and hyper-connectivity, emails and apps are demanding our attention from the moment we get up in the morning, when many of us browse our phone before our feet hit the floor. This is different than the world even 10-15 years ago.
  • Adding time into our lives for solitude and deep reflection has many positive cognitive outcomes, as proven by numerous research studies.
  • Reflection and solitude can be deliberately scheduled or fit into our day.
    • f scheduled, start small! Just 10-15 minutes might suffice.
    • f it’s fitting into the day, it can be as simple as driving in silence or walking across campus in silence.

Personally, I realized after the talk that I am guilty of browsing my phone when I wake up. Additionally, I’ve realized my time for reflection is often when I’m gardening in my yard in silence, enjoying nature and the feeling of my hands in the dirt. With snow on the ground now, I’ll look to schedule periods of solitude instead.

You can read more about Mike and his talk in the Michigan Daily article below.More info