The Care & Feeding of an Entrepreneur: Digital Detox

“All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.”

— Marie Curie

“The first step is you have to say that you can.”

— Will Smith

I am currently in the midst of a “digital detox”, which has been long overdue. I have unplugged for most of this week and part of next, to reconnect with family and friends during this holiday week, and to reconnect with myself. I have been “going off the grid” so that I can celebrate the holiday of Passover (8 days) and simultaneously reboot. So that I can proactively address the care and feeding of my inner landscape and my outer digital avatar. The one I have carefully crafted throughout my life by constantly reading and writing, and the online networking and postings I’ve done since publishing my book, The NICE Reboot.

While I’m a big fan of technology and social technology in particular, I believe in the power of down time, and in having a “digital detox“. I have vocally stood up for balancing humanity and technology ever since I was a Mac Evangelist in special education in the 90s, and more recently as a national speaker on Autism Intervention and digital citizenship and ed-tech trends. Like many people, I’ve often wondered what the Internet is doing to our brains and thought processes, and how iPads are reshaping our brain’s iOS. Especially in the entrepreneurship arena where critical thinking, problem solving, and Theory of Mind all have practical applications and need to be exercised; like other muscles in the human body.

Entrepreneurship today is fraught with pitfalls, some of which I discussed in my recent interview/ podcast with Bob Garlick, and some of which I wrote of in my latest article for The Huffington Post. Women in entrepreneurship are particularly adept at collaboration yet quite vulnerable to perfectionism and burnout. Why? Because we wear so many shoes over the course of a day, and have convinced ourselves that multi-tasking is a good thing. That we can have it all; and at once too!

That’s why it’s crucial for entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, to embrace the power in taking breaks, detours, and making mistakes. It’s something I’ve advocated for in my career providing speech therapy/intervention and Socially Speaking™ Seminars for children with Autism, in my personal life, and in my writings. I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way!) the importance of reframing success and failure and the power of resiliency. To accept that mistakes are part of the human experience and the entrepreneurial journey, and that true creativity comes from chaos. Thanks to Alastair Arnot and Erik Steiner for both sharing this funny video on Google+ about learning from mistakes. It really hits my point home!

My “digital detox” is about so much more than taking time off from posting to my social media sites and reading what others are sharing. It’s about taking time for self improvement, and for physically doing acts of kindness within my inner circle. It’s also about deliberate introspection, mindfulness, and content curation for the purpose of self-education. So that I help others learn, and in doing so, learn myself, what it means to be part of humanity. What it means to build a better version of oneself in real time. Where every interaction and lesson is an added note in the ongoing symphony that underlies all life; the ebb and flow, and the give and take, which culminates in the development of one’s moral compass. It’s something on my radar at this time of year, and was also written about in this New York Times op-ed piece that got my attention, thanks to Guido Kerkhof who recently posted it on Twitter.

Arianna Huffington’s great (see my review:) book Thrive, is all about taking a “digital detox”; a term becoming a cultural buzzword and hashtag on Twitter and Google+. While we need to start having more conversations and take action about this, and we need to remember the ultimate reason for doing so, which was so eloquently stated in this interesting article:

“A lot of people are looking for ways to disconnect to reconnect.”

— Stacey Aldrich, The “PA State Librarian”

I wish you all an enjoyable, restful, and meaningful holiday, where you can unplug and reboot. I hope you all take time and disconnect to reconnect; with your environment, with Nature, with others, but most importantly, with yourself!

What would you do if you had some down time? Here’s food for thought….a really cool video worth checking out here 🙂









About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
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