I have not been sleeping too well recently. For whatever reason I find myself waking up in the early hours, mentally composing the emails that I didn’t get the time to write the day before. I polish them over and over again in my head, like pieces of antique silver, until they’re perfect.

I know my doctor would tell me “it’s stress” and he’s probably right. Bur maybe it’s because my brain just wants to be creatively active in the early hours and why shouldn’t it be?  I mean, if I get up and do a few hours before breakfast and then later have a small sleep in the afternoon, is that really so bad? The only problem could be that I never seem to get around to having that afternoon nap.

Many years ago I read an article about ‘power napping’ and how beneficial it is for business executives. So I tried to encourage the younger employees of my company to take short power naps. Many of them had young babies and I knew just how desperate some young parents can be to get some extra sleep.    In order to make it more comfortable, I placed a divan in an empty office at the end of the hallway and brought back a ‘do not disturb sign’ from an hotel, to put on the outside of the door. I even installed a little alarm clock from Korea to make sure no one over slept.  But no one did. They didn’t even want to admit that they were tired during the day and they certainly didn’t want to take themselves off to the sleeping room, not even for the recommended twenty minutes.

I, on the other hand, sometimes used to sneak off mid-afternoon and have a little sleep in my car in a conveniently secluded spot. The company had activities all over the globe so often I had telco’s with Asia in the very early hours of the morning and the same again in the late evening with the States. I remember being terribly worried about the idea of being caught. How hypocritical would that have been? Leadership by example, I don’ think so!

Somehow I had fooled myself into thinking that if I slept in the dedicated office room, everyone would think that I had only intended it for myself all along. So I kidded myself that I wanted to keep it free for others.

A person I respect very much has announced early retirement yesterday. He has worked hard all his life, dedicating his career to just one firm.  I suppose soon he will be able to sleep whenever he wants and do whatever he likes, when he likes – or will he? Will he still have something to prove to himself and or to others? I wonder.

We humans are a strange lot. When we are offered opportunities we often don’t take them and the stranger thing is that the person doing the offering usually never really understands why.    In my case, I just wrote off the sleeping in the office experiment as a bad idea and when the pressure came to find an extra office for a new recruit, the room was converted back to its original use without anyone making any comment at all. It was like there’re was a collective feeling that there had been a missed opportunity but no one was brave enough to take it. What a shame,

Have a good week,