It’s been a while since a song stuck with me as a theme for a blog. As the title for this would indicate I’m thinking about a tune from Paolo Nutini, a brilliant young artist from Scotland (although obviously of Italian descent). I love the wisdom that this young man demonstrates. He is an amazing lyricist who hits a cord with many generations.

He has a number of commercial successes as singles, but it is this song “Rewind” that comes to mind. There is a line in this song that often reminds me of stressful times … “No I’m not sleeping at night”. Aside from that and the title of the song the rest of the lyrics aren’t meaningful from a leadership perspective, but hey … that’s what artistic license is about!

How many times do we say or hear those words over the course of a week, a month, a year? Maybe not exactly those but something like:

I'm worried!
I’m worried!

“I keep waking up thinking of what I have to do at work.”

“I worry too much at night about my family, my friends, even me.”

“I dwell on things that happened over the day so much they keep me awake.”

“I have to keep a pad of paper beside my bed to write down things I can’t forget to do.”

I wrote last week about my colleague Dan Sottile that passed away suddenly. One of the creative ideas that Dan is famous for, and something he swore he would patent, was something he called the “Headboard Whiteboard” that would replace the pad beside the bed.

What’s all this about? Sleep isn’t optional … we need it to live and to live well. Why is it that we deprive ourselves of it to deal with problems from our waking life? I’ve heard many variations on the theme. Some people hate saying no to someone so they take on more work than they can handle. Others feel uncomfortable if they leave the office with anything left to do on their desk. Others don’t focus on the workload but think about what has happened, what others have done or what they themselves have done over the last day or more and how it might make them appear imperfect, inadequate, unimportant, disrespected, lazy, etc.

Why don’t we wake up in the middle of the night so excited that we can’t sleep because we blew someone away with our talents, because we are so excited about an accomplishment, that our support to someone helped them past a personal roadblock, or any other of the amazing deeds we each contribute to our community of connections every day? That rarely happens to me … perhaps on the nights before big vacations … but even that is likely related to the anxiety of what I forgot to pack!

Why all this angst? My personal opinion is that we’ve all got a hidden part of us that believes we are “not enough” in some way.

“I’m not perfect”

“I don’t matter”

“I’m not important”

“I’m not good enough”

As Paolo Nutini says … “Why don’t we just rewind?”

Sleep like a princess (no pea)
Sleep like a princess (no pea)

What if we did hit rewind on this tape that plays in our head? What if we stepped back and examined everything this inner part of us says and asked ourselves simply “is this true for me”? Am I, for example, truly not good enough? I think we will find, if we are in a calm place and being kinds to ourselves, that these thoughts are not true, and while they have driven us forward in terms of achievement, they don’t always serve us as well in an overall sense. These voices which whisper to us continue to drive us until we come to terms with them and let them know that we understand them and are taking charge.

As leaders, this isn’t an easy space. We are tasked with the well-being of our team, but we are also tasked with results. These two sets of objectives are almost always in conflict, and we also have a hidden part inside of us that is whispering its story to us. So it is easy for us to slip over to results and say to ourselves “I’ll make it up to them next week”.

The truth here is that almost all people want to do a great job. What they don’t truly know is what a great job is … Unless their leaders tell them authentically. Even that may not be enough. Do we seek to understand what drives each of our teammates forward and once we know, work to ensure that they know they truly are enough?

Back to my inspiration for this post! I know its only the title and one lie that got me thinking, but I love the song and the artist nonetheless. Why can’t we just Rewind.

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Ian Munro @

Ian Munro is a leadership and vitality coach with a primary passion for working with senior professionals who wish to improve their connection to and vitality in their career, or who wish to make a transition to a meaningful and rewarding retirement. His methods are focused on helping clients understand why they present as they do in day-to-day life, discover their authentic self and give themselves permission to build a meaningful and rewarding future, both professional and personal. Ian’s love for this work has developed naturally as he built his career as an executive and leader in the IT services industry, serving in many roles and facets of this industry over 25 years. As he reached the pinnacle of his career he began to search more deeply for meaning and alternate rewards from his own career and to begin to plan for his own “first retirement”.

11 thoughts on “Rewind

  1. This post is timely in that my son said to me only today, ‘Mum stop worrying’ and I said to him ‘I am not worrying, I am thinking’. There is a difference.
    There are thoughts that scramble our brains that are totally useless. That is classed as worrying.
    And then there are other thoughts that are very useful, if they help us to form an action plan.

  2. (Sorry the comment posted before I finished).
    I believe what you term ‘rewind’ is part of that action plan, part of the process of turning a ‘getting no-where worrying episode’ into either something positive or a solution to whatever it was that was worrying you.

    1. Thanks for the feedback on this post. I love your thoughts on thinking vs. worrying, which if I can interpret, seems to be about moving forward (thinking) vs. parsing the past (worrying). Did I get that right?

      My thoughts on “rewind” are really about this parsing activity on events of the past where we tell ourselves what we or others did wrong, or could do better. To me the act of rewinding is to understand that in every moment, we are who we are, and whoever we are we are we are “enough”.

      1. I had thought of ‘worrying’ in terms of fearing the present or future in a non-productive frozen way as opposed to ‘thinking’ of a route forward.
        In regard to issues of the past, your idea of rewinding and accepting ‘we are enough’, I feel is a better long-term strategy than other techniques (such as ‘mindfulness’) that tend to recommend blocking out the past, rather than reworking it in a positive way.

  3. a rewind button would be most excellent! And why not a pause, or stop or fast forward (this one would have come in handy at some meetings!) May you get a full 8 hours tonight Ian!

  4. Nothing better than waking up to your posts on a Sunday morning, I love that my brain gets engaged first thing – thanks Ian for that!

    I’m sorry to hear that you are having trouble with sleeping nothing worse than missing the zzz’s they are essential to a good strong life balance. I like what you are saying but my thoughts are instead of a rewind button how about a “Let it go” button? The past is done and rethinking as we often do, re-analyzing, reworking doesn’t help us calm our mind. Reflecting on the day is different and is so useful. In my mind it all goes back to that positive thinking you mentioned and being present in the moment. Stop the second guessing ourselves I know I need to, try and go into each day with our minds open, thoughts positive. Our lives are so busy, we live in a fast past world everything has to be quick, fast, computers are faster than ever our phones do everything….in our parents day when life was slower I would hazard to guess they did not have as many sleep issues? They worked physically harder and had clearer more simpler thinking, not to say they were simple but just that life was calmer in alot of ways. So how do we sort this out, what works for me is to calm the mind before sleeping you can do this in bed or before, I do it in bed. Just sit or lye down and breath and think of nothing but your breath even for 5 minutes that and sour cherry juice works amazing 🙂

    Cheers to a good night sleep tonight!

    1. When I wrote this post it never occurred to me that it was about me! I totally get why now. Interestingly, it arose because I’ve been hearing this from there lately and started reflecting why I’m not afflicted by this and came to understand it in the way I wrote about the act of “rewind”.

  5. Solid post, Ian. I love especially when you say why don’t we wake up in the middle of the night bursting with all those positive thoughts etc – yes, we only wake up worrying. I reckon a great job is achieved when you KNOW it. You just know it.

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