“Slowing down forces you to be present with your challenges, and to choose to tackle the ones that make a difference.”, with Eddy Hood

Slowing down forces you to be present with your challenges, and to choose to tackle the ones that make a difference. When we run ragged, we deal with all of the problems that are thrown at us, and most of those problems are insubstantial time wasters. As a part of my series about “How to […]

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Slowing down forces you to be present with your challenges, and to choose to tackle the ones that make a difference. When we run ragged, we deal with all of the problems that are thrown at us, and most of those problems are insubstantial time wasters.

As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Eddy Hood, the CEO of Ignite Spot Outsourced Accounting Services (https://www.ignitespot.com/). His company provides complete accounting support to hundreds of businesses across America. In doing so, he oversees a staff of 30 accountants and has built his company from the ground up. He holds a degree in Accounting and Master in Business Administration.

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

I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. The thought of working for myself and making a difference to my community has always been a goal. I got into accounting because I wanted to learn the language of business, and in doing so, I saw an opportunity to tackle the virtual accounting market when there were few firms doing it. So I left my job as an auditor and started Ignite Spot 10 years ago.

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?

This doesn’t surprise me. As a business owner, you have multiple people and processes vying for your attention all the time. You have to make a lot of decisions each day, and many of them can have harmful financial effects on your company, so the stress can be very high. In order to curb some of that financial stress, owners often do the work themselves and take on more than they can handle. In an effort to save a buck, owners paint themselves into a corner where too much is demanded of them and they have no way out.

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

Three years into my company, I wasn’t sleeping at night. I worked 18 hours a day, and then I tried to survive the family lifestyle. My health was failing and the quality of my work suffered because I was always tired and stressed. My wife joined a gym about that time, and she convinced me to go with her. That started a lifestyle of caring for myself that changed everything.

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?

Slowing down forces you to be present with your challenges, and to choose to tackle the ones that make a difference. When we run ragged, we deal with all of the problems that are thrown at us, and most of those problems are insubstantial time wasters.

For example, I mediate everyday at 2:00 p.m. I do it then because I’m past the halfway point in my day, and I’ve had several issues thrown into my court. I meditate for ten to twenty minutes to get some clarity. I always walk away with a better sense of not only how to deal with the issues, but which ones are important. This may come as a shock, but you can actually ignore some problems and they fix themselves.

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 — Wake up at 5:00 a.m. and write. I always wake up early so that I can have the house to myself before my family gets going. This time is all mine, and I use it to write. Filling that time with a creative act has given me the ability to feel refreshed and ready for my day.

#2 — Ignition Meeting. Every day at 8:45 a.m. I get my entire company together for a virtual meeting. We have some staff that work around the country. This meeting is 15 minutes long, and I always share a motivation message to get the staff started on the right foot. It also puts me in a positive frame of mind to start tackling my day. We never talk about busy things or tasks. We only share a positive message.

#3 — Gym. I go to the gym every day for at least an hour. I’ve learned that if I don’t take time to care for my physical self, my ability to do good work suffers. Your body is your most important tool, so take care of it and it will reward you.

#4 — Mediation. I mediate everyday. I use the Headspace app to help guide me, but there are a thousand ways to do it. The goal is simple, sit upright and observe your thoughts. Pay attention to your breathing, and be present. When I do this, it’s like I’m acknowledging my brain which has been working non-stop for me. Apparently my brain likes recognition, because when I meditate, I always walk away with some clarity on how to manage the rests of my life. Plus, I feel a lot better and I’m happier. I’ve also noticed a huge improvement in my relationship with my kids.

#5 — Read fiction before going to bed. Every night, I read at least 30 pages of fiction before I go to bed. I don’t watch television or mess around on social media; those things keep my braining spinning and thinking about life. When I read fiction, I escape everything and it gives my brain a chance to unwind before I go to bed.

#6 — Go to bed at 9:30 pm. I go to bed at the same time every night. Some people make fun of me for hitting the sack early, but I feel great in the morning, and they’re dragging their feet. I have too much I want to accomplish during the day to feel like crap. Getting sleep is important.

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

I learned my definition of mindfulness through meditation. For me, it’s being aware of what’s happening without judging it. You observe what’s happening, be aware of it, and let it be. This approach to dealing with problems as a business owner is huge. I’m not as emotional about things anymore which gives me a level head. For example, we recently severed ties with a client because they weren’t a good fit for us. As the management team worried about upsetting the client and shifting workloads for our internal staff, I was able to emotionally detach myself from the event and observe what was happening. In doing so, I was able to make the right decisions as the CEO.

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

Start by making your favorite drink, whatever it is. Now take that drink back to your desk and do the following with it. As your business is booming and screaming around you, pay attention to how the cup feels. Is it hot or cold? Is it rough or smooth? How heavy is it? Now take a sip, but as you do, pay attention to your arms and fingers as they bring the cup to your mouth. Be grateful that all those little bones and tendons and muscles work the way they do. Find marvel in them. Now take a sip. What do you feel? Is there steam coming from the cup and washing up your face? Is it sweet or bitter? How does it feel on your tongue? And when you swallow, what do you experience? What does the liquid give you? As sense of warmth or comfort? Energy? Peace of mind?

That little exercise is all about observing what is happening to you, being aware, and being grateful. Once you can do that, try doing the same thing with a challenge at work. You’ll be far better at handling it, because you’ll be distancing yourself from it and watching it as an observer rather than feeling emotionally hurt by it — and that’s a good place to be in if you’re going to be a problem solver.

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

I put a do not disturb sign on my door so that I can meditate for a few minutes without people barging in.

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

I love the Headspace app. I think they’ve done a great job of making mindfulness accessible. I also love the books by Thich Nhat Hanh where he gives you exercise on how to be more mindful in your day to day life.

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

One of my favorite quotes is “Things do not change. We change.” By Henry David Thoreau. I love it because it reminds me that things are going to happen today and I don’t always get a say in what they will be. However, I dot get a say in how I respond to them.

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. 🙂

I would ask people to turn off their televisions for thirty minutes a day and pick up a book. There is so much to be gained from a good book that television will never be able to provide. I would love to see a world where more people searched for things that fascinate them rather than just looking for some form of entertainment to pass the time.

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

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