Why Slowing Down is the New "Get It Done"

For 38 years of my life I heard a common refrain:

"S...L...O...W DOWN!"

Sure, I got a speeding ticket driving to my very first job interview in Princeton, NJ after having graduated college. I should have slowed down when I saw a menacing officer tailing me for several miles...

And, sure, one of my corporate bosses asked me many times, "why is it necessary to respond to emails so quickly?" Because I had a knee jerk reaction I couldn't control. But, what I really said was, "I want to be efficient!"

My wife, over 12 years, has said to me, "you're like a bull in a china shop." I know what she means. I get shit done, even if that means my rampage leaves carnage in it's wake.

BTW, if this sounds like you, you'd probably really benefit from this breathing exercise:

Many of my clients are very driven. This is good. They also get a lot done. We need the doers. 

However, "doers" over do it. They believe they have infinite capacity, energy and longevity and only when their body puddles, collapsing from exhaustion do they realize they need to recharge.

And, it's not just a recharge they need. They need real rest to heal the parts of themselves that have been penetrating through life like a bull in a china shop.

This describes my former life. I went to work every day for years completely exhausted from an insomniac's nightmare of sleeplessness. I "manned-up," though, and "fought through it," while "buckling up". 

My body was in such utter disarray that it took me almost two years to fully recover from the damage of pushing through life so hard.

I had a torn knee joint, on a pill for sleep, hairloss, chronic pain and horribly cynical attitude about life.

What I've learned I'll share. This is IMPORTANT.

I got more done doing very little than I did doing a lot.

This is very contradictory to most of the Type A personalities here. But, it's true.

List making is a fine way to reinforce the behavior of "doing it all." Why? The list never ends. It's pleasurable checking off items on your list, yet we continue to add more things to do. The pleasure is temporary, and the to-do's pile up. It's a bad cycle. 

I know visionary people, those with professions in the higher realms say they do not make lists. But, their burden to bear is being creative, even if that means being up at 3am to get the spark of genius. "I do my best work at 3am," they say! And to that I say, if you never get REM sleep (which happens between 3am-6am), you'll never restore or repair and you'll get sick. 

These two extremes carry the same potential - disease and dysfunction. I see this all the time. 

When mentioning balance, almost every one of my clients agrees - they need more of it. 

How well can balance be applied to one's life, though? 

During one conversation, I mentioned the idea of being DELIBERATE. What does that look like? Taking one thing that you normally do extremely quickly and slow it down by 50%. 

For me, that's cooking. I was bred in kitchens that thrived off of pace. It's in my every fiber to make a dish as quickly as possible. Doing this at home can be destructive. I'm like the Swedish Chef and every cabinet is splattered with sauce. My wife ducks and runs away. 

I have applied my concept of being deliberate to making an egg. I don't rush. I heat the pan. I get a bowl. I breathe. I crack the egg. I whisk the egg. I cook the egg. 

This felt like insanity to me to slow down. Why even do it? Because there is the theory that HOW YOU DO ONE THING IS HOW YOU DO EVERYTHING. I do not want to risk having a heart attack over an egg. Or, anything else for that matter. 

When I breathe more deliberately and when I go slowly on purpose, my body relaxes. I used to get a massage and feel like I needed another massage the next day. I was THAT tense. I am not that way any more. I've given more space to myself because I've slowed down.

Now, to the idea that going slowly reaps greater rewards. My lists are smaller these days. Sure, there's things to do. But, truly, 50% of the list can wait. So, now, it waits. Instead I do something better. I sit down. I breathe. I visualize my perfect day. I perform a ritual to start my day. 

This is creating the energy of change. I can't tell you how many times I've finished with my little morning ritual and then I get an email requesting a session with me. People sense your energy when you go slowly. They can actually see you, instead of your energetic wake. 

In our house, we talk about the "tools" we have to change a mood or an action. I slow down by sitting. Breathing. Visualizing. And, I get so much more done this way than any list I've ever checked off.

If you like sitting and breathing, try this in the morning:

 

How To Be So Sensitive You're A Vital Business Asset

"You are really too sensitive and we feel this will have a negative impact on your career trajectory."

This was exactly what was spoken to me during a review about 12 years ago. 

I was working as an Account Executive for a marketing and public relations firm unknowingly undermining my talents and skills because I was "too sensitive." 

My manager was from an old, old school. Especially as a man, you were to be the unflappable rock. Steady. Calm. Poised. Discerning. And, like Dry Idea Antipersperant commercials told us back in 1984, "Never Let Them See You Sweat."

Fast forward to our present day, and we are singing a totally different tune.

According to Lolly Daskal's Blog, Empathic Leaders Are the Best Leaders, because they are more adept at connecting to and understanding employees. That means they can literally feel what someone else is going through and can then develop better solutions to pressing problems. 

But, it's not just our leaders whom benefit from being empathic. Remember Susan Cain's excellent Ted Talk on "The Power of Introverts"? Introverts are among our most sensitive souls, often referred to as HSP's (Highly Sensitive People). Anyone with the gift of feeling and sensing so deeply is bound to be slightly or outrageously empathic. (Not everyone, of course.)

Why Is Being Sensitive a Good Thing At Work?

Imagine the two hemispheres of your brain.

The left is logical and detailed. It's mechanical and ordered. It gets things done.

The right is expansive, abstract and creative. Here we experience strokes of genius.

Someone sensitive may have a natural inclination to utilize their right brain more. Here they use intuition to read people and situations. They can really "feel" what a person going through and thus are able to provide creative counsel to problems. That's exactly what many sensitive people become counselors, coaches or leaders themselves.

Too, there is the novel idea of a "bridge brain." 

This is someone able to coalesce both hemispheres of the brain, creating a balance of intuition, creativity and logic to interface with the world. 

Often, sensitive people are bridge brains.

So, why is being sensitive so good for our workplaces?

Sensitive people help increase the awareness of workplace or client problems early on. Because, HSP's are attuned to "energy" and if something is off, they will be raise the red flag early. This is incredibly helpful, since logic alone can't predict people problems into the the future. 

Too, as a sensitive person, I was able to anticipate what a client wanted with ease. It's because we really get to know people through our senses and we have a knack for understanding their habits. We really get what makes them tick. This is an invaluable tool at the workplace.

Sensitivity Problems - Critical Maintenance Necessary

While HSP's are tapping in and feeling everything very deeply, they are also losing themselves. I call this "losing their power." 

Being sensitive or empathic means that you can place yourself in someone else's shoes. Often, you feel exactly the emotion they feel. Imagine walking around feeling like everyone else except yourself.  This is a problem needing immediate attention.

We often attribute feeling sick, lethargic, burdened or otherwise cranky to a virus or bacteria - or stress. 

But, what if was simply that you lost all your power? That you gave it away when you were feeling someone else's stress? 

Most of my clients are so sensitive to others that they sometimes neglect their own energy. That's why they feel so lethargic. Getting their power back immediately creates a visceral boost. 

The question is, then, how do sensitive people maintain their own power? 

I will explore this topic in a future blog post since it requires a little dance with your own energy and I want to show you the moves.