“Slow down” is a phrase I can legitimately say my long-time clients are sick of hearing. What they don’t realize, is that it’s a message to me, even more than it is to them. It’s true that slowing down is the most valuable skill and practice I offer to my clients, but it’s like the biggest onion ever; we keep peeling the layers and still, there’s more.
I’m in my 50s, and still catch myself wanting to go fast, yet I intentionally bring myself back to the moment. I do this because I know that the value I’m trying to create, the impact I want to have, and the experience I cannot wait to enjoy can only be done right if I do it with presence and purpose; and we cannot step into either of those states of being when we are rushing. I know this to be very true.
After all these years of practice, this is the first thought that comes to my mind when I open my eyes in the morning: “GO!” I love any version of “Seize the day”, and “Drain the day”, and bought into its message early in life. And like so many others, I equated seizing the day with doing more in any given day. Drain the day is even more action-oriented, and often, the end result has us wondering if it was us or the day that’s drained. There’s a better way, and it’s about creating more rich and fulfilling days that naturally add up to such a life. Annie Dillard beautifully stated, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
I had lunch with a dear friend this week who is very social, and although cautious, he’s been far more socially connected to others in the year of COVID than I have been. He has been dating and expanding his business, which gives him an edge over me in terms of moving out of the worst of quarantine. He said to me, “Carolyn, everyone is in a rush now to make up for lost time. Dates want to fast track relationships, people want to travel anywhere they can and make up for lost experiences, and in business, I see a voracious attitude towards doing and taking at any cost.”
If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement with these emotions and beliefs, I urge you to “slow down” to the personal lessons that 2020 held for you. Write them down, discuss them with your loved ones, and once you commit to new actions, put them in your calendar (a good Coach can help you with this). I promise that in the end, you are not slowing down your actions. You are slowing down your thinking. By making this shift, you will be able to go back to the deep undeniable wisdom of 2020, and harvest the specific fruit that you want to take forward with you while creating your most intentional and powerful life.
That harvest will look different for each of us. Some like me, realized I crave the physical presence of other humans more than I thought, but for you, it might be the realization that you operate best when you have time for solitude and reflection. I realize that 2020, and now 2021, feel like 180 years, but before we know it, this time will pass, and if we don’t make a long unedited list of all the wisdom it offered us, well, we might rush right past it. Let’s do better than that, so we can live better.