Open Thinkering


Who are you without the doing?

A podcast I listened to recently took the structure of a Q&A hosted by Jocelyn K. Glei. The theme was ‘tender discipline’ and another episode was referenced where she asks the question someone once asked her: who are you without the doing?

Earlier this week, I wrote a personal email to my wife for the first time in a long time. While we live together and are in constant communication either verbally or via a Telegram backchannel, sometimes things (kids, events, stuff) get in the way of having important conversations.

I kept the email short, saying that I’ve been talking for years about taking December off work. I told her that I’m done with 2020, that I don’t want to put any more energy into this year of all years.

As a result, we’ve worked out that Team Belshaw will be OK if I finish up my work next week and take three weeks off to stop… doing. That’s such a relief! I’ve spent the last couple of days checking with others that my gently downing tools won’t affect them too much.

The funny thing is that I’ll probably still end up doing things that look a bit like ‘work’. I’ll no doubt still head over to my office to do some writing. There’s a bunch of work-related reading I want to do. I’ll probably occasionally check in on the multiple Slack instances of which I’m a member. But mainly I’ll walk and think and just be.

I need to recharge, and realise that I’m privileged to be able to decide when to pick up and put down my work. Nevertheless, effective care for others starts with caring for ourselves. So I’m looking forward to spending more time with myself without the… doing.

This post is Day 71 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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