Author Amy White: How to Slow Down To Do More

Awareness is the key to slowing down. When we are able, even for a few moments a day, to connect into the physical body and take an inventory of our emotional well-being, we can begin to refill our energetic tank. In my morning practice, I’ve made a commitment to do three simple things before starting […]

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Awareness is the key to slowing down. When we are able, even for a few moments a day, to connect into the physical body and take an inventory of our emotional well-being, we can begin to refill our energetic tank. In my morning practice, I’ve made a commitment to do three simple things before starting my day.

As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Amy White.

Amy White is an International Best-Selling Author, highly sought after speaker, and Intuitive Medium on a mission to help individuals heal the past, discover personal truths, and thrive. Amy’s one-on-one coaching, digital courses, and public talks allow audiences to gain a deeper understanding of the beliefs that are blocking their most authentic lives. Her insights and techniques help usher in big, bold changes and more subtle “ah-ha” moments that lead us closer towards our dreams.

A once reluctant Medium, Amy now embraces her innate intuitive gifts and has made it her intent to show up in the world as a truth-teller by bringing forward powerful messages for personal transformation. Amy’s work as a truth-teller started several years ago after she stepped forward as a Caregiver Champion in support of her son amidst a mental health crisis. This was not just a journey to help her son through his crisis. It was a life-changing event which required a deep level of soul excavation, awareness, and willingness to face her shadow and have faith that there was something brighter on the other side within the chaos and pain.

In 2016, Amy’s book Closer to Paradise: A Mother’s Journey through Crisis and Healing was published by Motivational Press. In this book, Amy takes the reader along on the wild roller coaster ride of heartache and invaluable life lessons. Amy hopes this story of fighting stigma, navigating the mental health services maze, and focusing on her own emotional healing will provide a beacon of hope and light for those working to support a loved one or themselves on the path to wellness.

Besides being an Intuitive Coach and Medium, Amy has spent more than 20 years working with both Fortune 100 companies and small to medium-sized businesses. In 2014, Amy co-authored the International Best Seller, Bold is Beautiful: Breakthrough to Business Strategies sharing her story of leaving her career to pursue her dream of coaching and advocating for parents, caregivers, and those transitioning through life’s challenges and crises.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

To say that my journey to my current profession was circuitous would be an understatement. I started my first career right out of college, fresh-faced with an engineering degree in hand. I had a somewhat romantic view of my career ambitions and thought that my goal was to reach the top of the corporate ladder. I envisioned my trajectory would lead me right to the office of the chief technology officer. For years, this striving, driving, and climbing was fulfilling.

At the young age of 29, I had a corner office, administrative assistant, and 80 engineers reporting to me. I felt like I had shattered several glass ceilings, being a woman leader, a woman in technology and under 30 years old. I truly loved what I did, had the most amazing leaders working for me, and felt like I was genuinely making an impact on our clients. My eyes were always on the prize, however, and to keep moving upward, I found that I had to change jobs, companies, and industries to maintain the momentum of my climb.

As I climbed the ladder, I became aware that my roles, even though they looked great on paper, were not fulfilling and I felt more burned out by the challenges that once fueled my internal fire.

A decade later, I reached a top rung of the corporate ladder only to realize that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. I was burned out, sacrificing my health for savings targets and objectives that were nothing more than arbitrary checkboxes. I knew something needed to change.

I had to get honest with myself, acknowledge that I’d known for several years the path was no longer fulfilling, and then take the steps necessary to find my way to a more aligned path.

For me, that aligned path came in the form of giving my two-week notice, without a new job lined up and little idea what was next. Luckily, I had a side-hustle coaching practice that I’d been building for the better part of 10 years. That felt like a good place to start, little did I know that it was the most direct path from where I was to where I am now.

It was in the coaching work I did that allowed me to recognize that my gut sense was more than street smarts. I started to delve deeper into my intuitive abilities as I worked with my clients. By the time I left my corporate position, I was genuinely ready to re-launch myself into the realm of solopreneur.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?

I am surprised that these numbers are not higher. My sense is that we are a society that has been conditioned to equate busy with productive and that productivity equates to our value. There are so many options and opinions about what the collective “we” should be doing for ourselves and others. This change likely occurred in the years following World War 2. The United States and many first-world countries began to experience economic expansion and opportunities that hadn’t existed, en masse, before that timeframe. Women began to go to work in more significant numbers, dual-income homes multiplied, and suddenly there was more to do, see, and experience than ever before.

We are products of our environment out of the gate. As children, we learn by example and adapt our own interpretation to what we see and experience. Beliefs and life skills are passed, like a package, from one generation to the next. Often, there is little understanding that these ways of being can be questioned. Many just keep doing things the way they’ve always been done. Often it can take a health or family crisis to stop us in our tracks, and this can create an opportunity to re-evaluate life choices.

This is what happened to me when my son experienced a mental health crisis several years ago. The situation forced me to stop and take a long hard look at what I was doing in my life and why. I realized that I was on a hamster wheel. Rushing from one thing to another, I rarely stopped to take in the experience, let alone assess its benefit to my overall wellness. My son’s illness was a gift that allowed me to pause and pivot. And most of all to slow down and start to appreciate the moments of my life more than I ever thought possible.

Credit: Nina Pomeroy Photography

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

When we are rushing from one thing to the next and to the next, there is little awareness of life’s experience from moment to moment. Somewhere along the line, the shift into autopilot occurs, and chances are we aren’t aware that it’s happened. Overall wellness comes from being able to connect into our physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. When we are rushing through life, we can’t truly have appreciation for ourselves or others.

On a tactical level, the trajectory of this rushed path doesn’t allow us to tune into what we really need. When our needs aren’t being met, our efforts and service come from an empty place. It’s like driving your car on fumes. At some point, the gas will run out. Our human bodies are quite resilient, often it’s easy to ignore the warning signs of burnout until it’s too late.

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

Awareness is the key to slowing down. When we are able, even for a few moments a day, to connect into the physical body and take an inventory of our emotional well-being, we can begin to refill our energetic tank. In my morning practice, I’ve made a commitment to do three simple things before starting my day.

The first is to breathe. It sounds simple, but taking the time to pause and breathe is a powerful way to connect into the body. I take 5–7 deep breaths, and each time I exhale, I acknowledge something in my life that I’m able to deeply appreciate.

The second morning practice is to connect my feel to the floor as I’m rolling out of bed. This connection is like dropping a pin on the roadmap of the day. Allowing myself to connect to my physicality opens awareness of the present moment and lays the groundwork to stay more connected as things get busy during the day.

The final step in my morning practice is to grab my journal and a cup of coffee. I spend 10 minutes clearing out my mind, allowing whatever words need to come out. It’s a mini-detox for the mind.

These steps allow for a more focused and intentional way of moving through the day. From this space, it becomes easier to prioritize what needs to be, factor in what is desired and see more clearly what is essential and of lesser importance on the daily to-do list.

Starting the day with a full tank provides the space for productivity without the self-harming tendencies of rushing through everything we “think” needs to be done.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

When we are in the mode of simply finding ways to do more by “slowing down,” we may be tricking ourselves into believing that we are doing something “good” for us. Though we may just be rushing around from a different angle. To make a true change that benefits our lives and our productivity, the frame to start from is “how do I take care of myself so that I can do the necessary things while also making time for fun, play, and self-nourishment.”

Here are six strategies that I use to slow down and get things done:

  1. Identify what is essential and urgent: One of the things that I took away from reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People was his use of The Urgent Important Matrix. The idea of this practice is to consciously recognize our most important tasks and identify the distractions and interruptions. This is a daily practice for me, and when I’m consistent with it, it is easier to accomplish the necessary tasks that require immediate attention while also making space for the things that I want to use my time to explore. The ability to make space for more of what brings us joy is a direct benefit of this process.
  2. Make time to exercise: This is one of my non-negotiables. It is, using the strategy above, both critical and urgent. Moving the body is a great way to detox, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. As I supported my son through his health crisis, daily movement was the one thing that felt consistent, grounding, and clearing. I could be the observer of the situation with my son and balance the demands of my career and relationships easier by making this physical practice a priority. The bonus was that the better I felt, the more empowered I became, and this allowed me to show up for myself and my son in ways that were critical for his care and my own.
  3. Plan for nourishment: Even with my morning practice and intentional prioritization of my day-to-day activities, things can feel busy. That is why I need to make sure that I have easy access to nourishing foods. My pantry always has staples of dried fruits, nuts, whole-food power bars, and trail mix that makes it an easy grab and go when I’m on the run. I aim for 3–4 days a week of plant-based meals that I can make ahead (or purchase prepared). This isn’t about being rigid with food choices. I will also joyfully consume a burger and fries, wine, and sweets when it feels in alignment. Life is about moderation, and nourishment is more about being joyful in the moments we consume food than what we are consuming. Having options in advance makes it easy to take care of the body while focusing on the other priorities of the day.
  4. Limit external noise: While food was the primary focus on the above strategy, we consume much more during the day than just fuel for our bodies. To eliminate distractions and interruptions, it is beneficial to be aware and limit the news, social media, and non-productive engagement. We live in a tumultuous time, and it is easy to get distracted by what is happening in the external world. In my daily practice, I set the intention to be aware of what is happening in the world around me but to wear it all loosely.
  5. Meditation: For me, mediation is so much more than sitting in silence and emptying the mind. My meditation practice is intentionally connecting into my inner-knowing, it’s a partnership that I foster daily. In some ways, meditation is more like an easy conversation with an old friend. The act of tuning in, making space to listen, and to see life from a broader perspective, keeps me engaged and on my path. Often, these meditative moments occur when I’m walking the dog, driving my car, or doing other more mundane tasks. There is something about the repetitive motion of these activities that allow me to sink a little deeper into connection with my soul. By practicing daily, I often find that answers to questions I’ve been pondering, or challenges I’ve been facing come with ease. It is slowing down to be more productive in the most real sense.
  6. Make time for morning practice: As I’ve shared, taking the time to connect to the breath, and to my physical and emotional connection is a crucial strategy for starting the day intentionally slowing down. When I allow myself to be clear and present, life flows with greater ease. I am more aware of when I fall back into the habit of rushing around on auto-pilot and can pivot more quickly back to the place of being instead of doing. Real productivity comes from consciously making choices, instead of letting life drag you through the day. I start where I am, aware of the opportunities to make different choices than the day before, and re-align with what is truly important for me.

How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?

Mindfulness is much more than a tool in my toolbox. It is a way that I choose, over and over, to live my life in awakened awareness and purposeful actions. Mindfulness is being intentional. It takes commitment and desire. When I first started to shift from the fast-paced, rushing through my day, this idea of mindfulness actually felt like more work. I began to incorporate this practice into my life in bite sized pieces. I started with my morning practice, made a commitment to do my best to be aware of when I fell back into old habits, and leaned toward self-compassion when I noticed the drift. Dropping the judgment of what I thought I should be doing and allowing myself to learn the ways that resonated with me most, greatly assisted in developing the mindfulness muscle that I now embody. It is a daily practice, and I continue to expand into this way of being each day.

Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?

The easiest way to integrate mindfulness, is to start with intentionality. Break the day into small segments and be purposeful of how you see each segment flowing with ease. For example, when I am getting ready to begin a client session, I take a few moments to ground, set an intention for the time, and open my awareness to the many opportunities that this session will hold for my client and me. I also take a moment or two and connect to the expectations I may have, giving myself permission for the session to flow in the best way.

If the time is taken at the beginning of each new segment of the day, to simply become aware and present, things will flow with ease, more productivity is possible, and it won’t feel as rushed.

Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?

On a practical level, finding even a few moments before starting a new task or engaging with team members or clients, allows for recalibration and the opportunity to set an intention for this next segment. I find that using an app, like Insight Timer, for example, can be a quick way to create a timed pause. Sometimes a few minutes of quiet is what is needed to re-align and re-center. Other times a quick guided meditation, some soothing music, or a short inspirational talk may be just ticket. A few deep in and out breaths can make the difference between starting off in a rush or taking things down a couple notches and being more intentional in a pinch.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices

In addition to Insight Timer, I look for things that inspire me. There are so many options to hear stories of how others have made positive changes in their lives, found their path to more profound evolution, and have overcome challenges. This, to me, is mindfulness at its core. I love to listen to The Moth Storytelling podcast and Rachel Brathen’s, aka Yoga Girl, podcast. I bookmark stories of thriving, transformation and inspiration often found on sites such as Elephant Journal, Humans of New York, and Mindful Magazine to name a few

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Rumi.

This Rumi quote is one of my favorites. For me, it is permission to align with what feels resonate without considering what others are doing, thinking, or desiring of me. When I can drop all of the self-inflicted expectations of what I think my life should look like, what obligations I have toward others, and lean into the idea that everyone is doing the best they can from where they are in the moment, including me, this is true freedom. From here, mindfulness, slowing down, being purposeful in how I show up in each moment of my day becomes so much more accessible and easy.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The deepest passion I have in the Intuitive work that I’m doing now is to empower others to trust their inner wisdom and start to tap into the answers that are already inside their soul body. When we are able to shift from outwardly looking for answers, opinions, and direction for what we “should” be doing, we can truly live life in alignment with our hopes, dreams, and desires. When one can really listen to their intuition, they stop giving away their power to so-called experts, gurus, and influencers who may not have their best interest in mind. We are all here on our own unique journey, what is right for one is not necessarily right for all. This is the path. This is why we are here in this life experience. To learn to, on the deepest level, connect with ourselves and forge the path from there — one step at a time.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

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