Can you hear it?
It’s not the loud buzz of everyday life. It’s the wind in a tree; the sound of joyful laughter or the crinkle of a page turning in that book that you’ve been dying to read all year.
It might be that little crack your neck makes when you lean back in the middle of the day and ….close your eyes.
When you take life down a few notches something quite wonderful happens.
You experience the beauty and power of slowing down.
Before I became a coach, I spent years working with Fortune 500 companies that thrived on innovations and new product ideas. None of the great ideas came when we forced everyone to sit in a room all day and think. The light bulb moments came when those creative minds walked away, went for a run or were in the shower the next day.
Space + quiet time equals transformation.
Now, I coach so many powerhouse women who live by the motto of GSD. Translation: Get Shit Done! We’re celebrated because we have a PhD in GSD. I could open GSD University! Our families depend on us to GSD and so do our co-workers. In fact, we become a slave to the GSD way of life where you work until your eyes are bleary and your head hits the pillow. We consider that a great (albeit sometimes unfulfilling day).
Occasionally while multi-tasking, you glance down at a headline that advises you to sign up for that yoga class or take time to do a daily meditation to become calm, centered and grounded. Who has time for all that grounding when you have a team meeting, business trip and three kids with three million activities?
I’m here today to give you four great reasons to experience the beauty of slowing down.
You Will Accomplish More if You Slow Down
The more you slow down, the more you will actually GSD! The secret is simple. Slowing down makes you more productive because your mind is sharper after the break and your focus will be laser strong. In the blur of our lives, we search for that major creative moment or “ah-ha the answer” only to keep spinning our wheels thanks to a foe called multitasking. A pause that fit your needs – a catnap, a spa treatment, and a walk by the lake – will provide the quiet space to reboot your mindset, which will in turn make you a more productive person upon your return.
You Can Banish Your Guilt
You want to slow down, but feel so bad about doing it. My clients tell me that it makes them feel guilty to take ten minutes to read a book. Float in a pool? You think, “I should really be doing laundry or reading that report or taking care of someone else.” Think of it this way: You keep going at this pace and you’ll be sorry instead of guilty. Taking care of yourself is like taking care of your car. You wouldn’t keep driving at 150 mph in your car without ever stopping to change the oil or let it rest. Don’t fret and think, “Who am I to take a nap and stop working in the middle of the afternoon?” Instead think of these moments as sacred time to work on you.
You Won’t Lose It All During the Slow Down
Perhaps you want to slow down, but feel like the world will crumble if you’re not racing in the fast lane. I understand the fear. You think if I stop – even for a second – everything you’ve built will just fade to black. You think, “If I don’t answer those e-mails and drive to dance and keep working then it’s all going to go away.” To take it one step further, many women believe, “If I don’t keep producing then no one will love me and my life will crash.” Step back for a minute and think about it. Did it take you ten minutes to build your life? It’s not going to go away in ten minutes or a weekend or even a week of vacation.
Slowing Down Will Take You To the Next Level
You’re great at navigating your go-go-go lifestyle. It’s working, but it’s not truly fulfilling. Slowing down from time-to-time will help you shake up the routine and actually get to the next level: true fulfillment, deeper satisfaction in relationships, meaningful work or finding your calling. You can only discover one or all of the above with a clear mind. Slowing down gives you the space to breathe, think, wonder, create and dare yourself to ask the bigger questions. It also allows you the time to listen as the answers reveal themselves.
As for me, I had to take off my badge called “How Many Things Can I Get Done In an Hour.” I know multi-tasking is the root cause of unhappiness and mindfulness is a way to allow myself to become more centered. I vow to you that today like on most days, I will find time to shut my office door, close my eyes and just be with myself for five or ten minutes. Even my dogs and kids know to leave me alone during that time.
As I sit and close my eyes, the entire world becomes clear. I invite you to give yourself that gift. Start with just 5 minutes a day. In the midst of the chaos, the kids, the work, the dishes, just take 5 for you, and experience what emerges next. Allow yourself the space to slow down. Shut your door, close your eyes, breathe and find the peace and insights within you. Let me know what you discover.