//

Slow Down To Do More: “Why We Should Only Compete With Ourselves” With Ashley Graber and Janine Truitt

Extra pressure to “do” and “be” comes with the comparison of what you are doing versus what others appear to be doing. Your only true competition in life is yourself. Your aim should be to do better and make more informed decisions than you did yesterday. Set goals based on your desire to achieve them, […]


Extra pressure to “do” and “be” comes with the comparison of what you are doing versus what others appear to be doing. Your only true competition in life is yourself. Your aim should be to do better and make more informed decisions than you did yesterday. Set goals based on your desire to achieve them, not to impress others. In other words, run your own race. Some of the ways I have prevented comparison is by unfollowing people, staying off of social media for periods of time, and using productivity apps to manage time where I am dedicated to focusing on my work.

As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Janine Truitt. Janine is the Owner/Chief Innovations Officer for Talent Think Innovations, LLC, a business strategy and management consulting firm. Her career spans fourteen years in HR and Talent Acquisition that has taken her through the world of pharmaceuticals, healthcare, staffing and R&D. Janine is a dynamic speaker, entrepreneur, and an important and respected voice bringing both a human touch and business savvy to the companies and businesses she works with.

It is through the trials and tribulations of her career travels and her passion for Business, Technology, Digital Transformation and Talent Management that she created Talent Think Innovations in January 2013. Her aim is to provide practical and sustainable solutions, programs and strategies that are a catalyst for innovation. Through her work she is using her experience to get businesses and individuals from surviving to thriving allowing them to succeed in an age of rapid transformation.

Janine doesn’t just preach innovation-she lives it. A globally-known figure in Human Resources and Business, she has contributed for: Performance I Create, Switch & Swift, TLNT.com, and IRIS.xyz and more. Janine is a rare professional who isn’t afraid to tackle the obstacles and issues facing us as a society and global marketplace. She has been quoted by HBR, Bustle, The Cut, Atlanta BlackStar, Newsday, SHRM, USA Today and has been featured by Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Black Enterprise and Ebony Magazines. In 2013, Janine was also named one of the Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts on Twitter by Huffington Post and one of 50+ Unstoppable Women in HR Tech by Clear Company. Additionally, she was a part of the first-ever IBM + Purematter VIP Futurist Project. Janine is currently in the process of transitioning her knowledge and work in HR into a technology company that will address the challenges the differently-abled community has in becoming gainfully employed. She proves that humility, innovation and practical thinking has value and is fast becoming the new business imperative.

You can catch Janine, in action, every Thursday at 10pm EST on her Periscope show: “Ask Czarina Live” and on AnchorFM for her “Growth on my Terms” podcast.


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

I was supposed to become a biochemist working in a lab initially. Somewhere between calculus kicking my behind and chemistry labs sucking my soul, I switched over to psychology. In switching over to clinical psychology I thought I would be happy and fulfilled diagnosing people in a clinical environment daily. I was great at diagnosing, but diving deeper into that lane let me know it wasn’t for me. In speaking to a dean at a university I was applying to for a Master’s, I had some questions about other facets of psychology. She pointed me in the direction of industrial psychology which is the study of how people think and behave at work. I was hooked after my first course and went full speed ahead pursuing a career in Human Resources in 2005. From 2005 to 2014, my career in human resources took me through healthcare, staffing, pharmaceuticals, home care, and R&D filling various roles. In 2013, I started Talent Think Innovations to free myself from the corporate rat-race while giving myself the opportunity to build a practice that allowed me to express the full spectrum of my interests and talents. I help companies create business strategy that encourages healthy work environments for people and sustainable practices for the business.

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?

Our society breeds a “do”, “be”, “go” 24/7 mentality and culture. The perception is that we always have to be doing something or more importantly moving our life ahead of whatever is happening in the present moment, because everyone else “appears” to be doing grand things with their time. The emergence of the digital era has amplified the illusions of individual productivity and affluence making many people a slave to time and the need for immediacy.

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

When we rush we aren’t present. Rushing is opposite of being in our best frame of mind or operation. You may succeed at rushing for a time, but we can all attest to the times it caught up with us. Whether it is hitting “reply all” to an email that should have gone to one person or making a costly mistake. Speaking of costs, the costs of our 24/7 culture of rushing are tremendous. According to Time Magazine, there are 40 million Americans living with anxiety disorder. 300 million people globally live with depression. Beyond the chemical imbalances that oftentimes drive these disorders much of it is caused and/or compounded by the pressures of life and work. People aren’t as well in mind, body, and spirit as we would hope. Rushing does nothing more than give us more opportunities to run from the areas of our lives that need more attention.

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?

I have found I get more done when I slow down. When I worked a corporate job, I was met with constant deadlines, just-in-time demands, and pressure. Even though I was intentional about building more downtime and rest into my business, I, inevitably started working crazy hours and taking on more and more to move my business ahead. I ended up with burnout by the end of 2015. At that time, I was also suffering with anxiety. I knew I didn’t want this to be an ongoing habit or condition and so I started slowing down out of necessity. Meditation was one of the first tools I adopted to slow myself down and become more present.

Meditation aside, the way you slow down is by acknowledging your own bandwidth for what you can accomplish on any given day. Really look at your day objectively and plan to accomplish 2–3 tasks of importance. The more labor-intensive the tasks the less of them you should pack into your day. Check-in with yourself to see how you are feeling. If you can manage something more, do it; but do one thing at a time with intention.

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?

  1. Just say “no”. The reason we are always buzzing around and rushing is because we are doing too much. Ever wonder how you end up being unproductive in the face of so many things to be done? It’s because you are overwhelming yourself and feeling the pressure of overextending yourself.
  2. Do one thing at a time. You probably think you are doing yourself a service by being a multi-tasker. You are never giving your full attention and effort if you are trying to manage and complete more than one thing at a time. Complete one task from beginning to end and then move on from there. The relief you will feel will be contagious.
  3. Prioritize your tasks. Every day prioritize the tasks or actions that must be done. Complete each of them with a singular focus of executing one thing at a time. When you are done, consider that day a success. In other words, do what you set out to do without putting extra pressure on yourself to do more.
  4. Take your breaks. The worst thing you can do is to work through lunch and your breaks; only to continue working from home. To operate like this every day is to put continuous strain on your mind and body. Everyone needs some time to let everything rest during the day. Get away from your desk for a bit. Go outside for some fresh air. It doesn’t matter what you do, just find a few moments throughout the day to recalibrate and refresh.
  5. Find periods of time to isolate yourself. It may seem like you need to be at every party, family event, after-work social, but you do not. Overwhelm comes when we haven’t made stillness and quiet a priority, Find some time to be alone and quiet. Get an adult coloring book or do your favorite quiet activity that requires little to no interaction or at least no heavy-lifting for your brain. For me, I love painting, cocooning, aerial yoga, reading, and cooking.
  6. Compete with yourself only. Extra pressure to “do” and “be” comes with the comparison of what you are doing versus what others appear to be doing. Your only true competition in life is yourself. Your aim should be to do better and make more informed decisions than you did yesterday. Set goals based on your desire to achieve them, not to impress others. In other words, run your own race. Some of the ways I have prevented comparison is by unfollowing people, staying off of social media for periods of time, and using productivity apps to manage time where I am dedicated to focusing on my work.

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

Mindfulness is the act of being fully present through your thoughts and physical presence. Currently, it is 12:56 on 2/26, my mind is not ruminating about what needs to happen at 12:57 or 8:00 pm tonight as none of those moments matter more than the current moment I am in. We love to live in the future and the past. We concoct stories of grandeur about all the great things we will do in the future. What we don’t realize is the future and the past don’t exist. The only moments we can own are the ones in the present. When I can center my mind and physical presence on what is happening in this precise moment, I am being mindful.

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

You don’t have to become a walking Buddha in a day. Start small. Take five minutes when you wake up to be still and check in with your breathing. Use it as a mechanism to check in with yourself throughout the day even if it is for short periods of time. For example, if you feel yourself getting stressed take a short break and take some deep breaths. Dialogue with yourself a bit about why you are getting stressed. Prioritize what needs to be done in that moment and park the additional emotions for further evaluation at a later time. Mindfulness is about being present and having clarity about why you are doing things in every moment.

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

I like listening to binaural beats at various frequencies like 528 MHz, 396 MHz, 432 MHz, 639 MHz, etc. Binaural beats help to alleviate pressure and calm the mind while focusing on various parts of the body, Think of it as sound therapy. Levelhead is an amazing app used to help teams and individuals alike cultivate more mindfulness in their days. It also allows for peer-to-peer recognition which allows mindfulness to become a collective and collaborative effort. Breathing exercises are also my go-to. Taking time out to ground your breathing is a good way to shake off the stresses of the day.

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

I enjoy doing Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenges. They are offered periodically.

I love using Flipd to manage my downtime away from my phone and social media.

I work with a Reiki practitioner once per month to keep my energy in alignment. I also participate in sound healing occasionally.

The following books have helped me immensely:

Mind Right, Life Right by Ash Cash

Lust for Life by Sylvester McNutt III

The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks

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

“Deal with your demons or they will deal with you.” This life lesson always reminds me to check in with myself mentally and emotionally to see that I never leave a part of me neglected. When we ignore the warning signs of a pending burn-out or mental health concern we end up compounding it. No job or amount of money will matter if you aren’t well enough to make your next dollar. Life happens. We all need to be vigilant in making sure we are healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

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. 🙂

Growth on my Terms is a movement I have already started to nurture and cultivate in an effort to encourage people to see that in life we are all on our own journey which should never be compared to others. You can never be behind schedule or a late bloomer when you are blooming in your own time and on your own terms. Many people are feeling lost, lonely, and unworthy. It is all due to the unreasonable standards we bully people with in every corner of society. My wish is for us to stop glorifying the human journey based on material achievement and instead celebrate achievement at the various rungs of the journey to self-actualization and transcendence.

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


About the Author:

After 15 years working in Commercial Real Estate in New York City, Ashley Graber changed the coast she lived on and the direction of her life from Real Estate to the worlds of Psychology and Meditation & Mindfulness. Ashley came to these practices after getting sober and in the decade plus since, she now runs a busy mindfulness based psychotherapy practice at Yale Street Therapy in Santa Monica, CA where she see adults and children and speaks on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices.

Ashley is an Owner and Director of Curriculum for the next generation meditation app & mindfulness company ‘Evenflow’ and launched the company’s one to one online mindfulness mentoring program. Ashley also educates teachers and administrators in schools and presents in businesses across Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

Ashley was trained in Meditation and Mindfulness practices by prominent teachers; Elisha Goldstein, Richard Burr and Guiding teacher at Against the Stream Boston, Chris Crotty. Her Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) certification was done through The Center for Mindfulness at UC San Diego. Additionally, Ashley is trained by Mindful Schools to teach Meditation and Mindfulness practices to children and families. Ashley’s unique combination of psychotherapy, trauma reprocessing and meditation and mindfulness practices make her a sought after therapist and mindfulness educator and speaker. Her passion for the benefits of mindfulness practices as well as her enthusiasm for helping young kids and adults is the drive to teach these very necessary, life long skills and why she wrote and runs the Mindfulness for Families program at The Center for Mindful Living. This is where she teaches groups of families with children ages 6–12.

Ashley was featured on Good Morning LaLa Land, presented on Resilience at the renowned Wisdom. 2.0 Mindfulness & Technology conference, and presented at the TED Woman conference offering an in-depth look at the profound psychological and physiological consequences of chronic stress, and how meditation and mindfulness practices can alleviate these effects.

If you’d like to book Ashley for an inspiring speaking engagement, please click here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.