“Why you should make clear decisions.” With Beau Henderson & Vikki Louise

When we slow down, we can make clearer decisions, quicker, and get smarter through our mistakes. Having time to analyze and be aware of what worked, and what didn’t work. This information is valuable for the next time you are going to do something. As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down […]

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When we slow down, we can make clearer decisions, quicker, and get smarter through our mistakes. Having time to analyze and be aware of what worked, and what didn’t work. This information is valuable for the next time you are going to do something.

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

Vikki works with ambitious overachievers, teaching them how to manage their anxiety & procrastination so they can focus, and show up consistently to create impact. She has a no BS approach blending neuroscience, evolutionary biology, life coaching tools and tough love that teach people to understand their brain, rewire their thinking — and feel empowered to get things done. Vikki graduated from the London School of Economics and worked in finance and tech for years before moving into coaching full time. She hosts the top rated F*CK Anxiety & Get Sh*t Done podcast available on iTunes and Spotify. Find out more about her at www.vikkilouise.com

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?

I always wanted to help people. I read about what people regretted the most at the end of their lives, and it was all around listening to fears. People are incredibly capable in ways that aren’t recognized in formal education. So later in life people lose their confidence and drive to create impact. Even when they know deep down what they want to do, the fears set in. For me, it manifested in me working in finance for almost ten years before committing to my dream of being a coach. There is a lot of confusing misinformation about anxiety & procrastination — so often people come to me after years of spinning in indecision and self judgement. Everything online is so disempowering… My work changes this. Ambition breeds anxiety, and ambition is what solves all the crises in our world. So I am committed to helping people overcome their primitive brains and anxieties for them, and for the world.

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?

Yes. Our brain completely overestimates what we can achieve in a single day, and underestimates what we can do in a longer time, say a year. So we take on too much, often not setting enough time for everything.

There is a need to do “Everything, all at once”, which is exhausting, and ineffective. Mobile phones and 24 access for work and personal lives haven’t helped. When we separate out the areas of our lives to focus on, we are more in control, and get more done.

Also, something I call “one quick thing” syndrome… where we are in the middle of one thing and continue to reply to emails, take phone calls, not on a time we designated. It is overwhelming our brain and eating away at our time.

Lastly, we are always looking for more — more happiness, more success, we think that where we are heading is better than where we are. So we CHOOSE to rush to get there. One thing I teach my clients is… it doesn’t get better, or easier than you make it now. Focus on the good now, and build that habit.

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

It slows down our output. It can also impact the quality of the output. Think of it like this… You are walking across a traffic light juggling apples to get them all to the other side. The more you juggle at the same time, the more likely you are to drop them. The quicker you cross the road, the more likely you are to drop them. This is what we are doing to ourselves by rushing with all the things.

It tires out our brain. Which is exhausting, and can lead to poor decisions (e.g. overeating, over drinking), and impacts our sleep as it takes longer to slow down to rest.

Rushing is like being constantly focused on the future, which takes us out of the present, impacts our ability to listen to others and build meaningful relationships and make decisions that are kind to ourselves. So of course, happiness will be impacted.

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?

Yes — I teach my clients to slow down to speed up. Because more important than the tasks you are doing is the relationship you build with yourself, your confidence, self-accountability and self-trust.

When we slow down, we can make clearer decisions, quicker, and get smarter through our mistakes. Having time to analyze and be aware of what worked, and what didn’t work. This information is valuable for the next time you are going to do something.

This is the difference between failing, and failing forward. And with the latter, you are always getting smarter. Which means you are going to have more knowledge and the ability to speed up later.

Also, generally, when we feel in control, it will impact everything we do. Focus on building the control first, and recognize that rushing is the opposite of control.

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. Make decisions ahead of time. I teach my clients to spend one hour every Monday morning I writing their to-do list for the week and putting it in their diary. Deciding when they will do it and how long each thing will take. Sure, it starts the day off slower, but leaves my brain clear of all scheduling decisions for the rest of the week.
  2. Commit to less things. A lot of times we say “yes” from people pleasing and it costs us. Saying no is not scary, and should be normalized. That can be a simple as “no, I can’t talk to you right now I will call you this evening”
  3. Review your days — each day is an opportunity to learn. What went to plan, what could have been planned better, where things didn’t go to plan, etc. This is a ten minute process each day that keeps you in a constant state of learning.
  4. Make a simple decision of ONE thing that will make the week successful. This doesn’t mean you won’t do other things, but knowing what creates success at the beginning is your roadmap to creating success, and confidence, and clarity over “just doing one more thing” when it isn’t in line with your priority.
  5. Practice loving where you are right now — I call it “My Amazing List” and once a week I have clients write down everything that is amazing in their lives. So they are less rushed to get to somewhere else and build the skill of gratitude
  6. Ten minutes is better than zero. We don’t need to work out for an hour, or do yoga for an hour, or read for an hour. I love introducing things in ten minute windows. Set the goal as no matter what I will do ten minutes. Instead of rushing to be an “Expert”, learn as you go and be more committed to the long term change. I have done yoga every day for the last 18 months, 10–30 minutes tops. For you, what is one thing you would like to do but are struggling to fit in that hour and what would happen if you committed to ten minutes?

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

Mindfulness is simply an ability to be present with what is. An example is as simple as listening to the person you are having a conversation with instead of being in your own head about your work, relationships, health, emails, what you said yesterday, something you forgot… etc.

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

One thing I use with my clients is a release of their “:inner crazy”. Think of it like a data dump from your brain. Getting all the thoughts swirling around our heads onto paper. Literally lightening our mental load. When I first start working with people they tell me they have thoughts they don’t want to say out loud because they think that is what makes them true. It isn’t. Holding onto them does. Just sit and offload all your inner crazy and feel the lightness.

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

It comes down to your relationship with yourself over the long term vs quick fixes. So really I teach and coach people to do this work proactively. So they are already in control of their mind. A quick and dirty trick could be as simple as leaving a post it on your computer saying BE PRESENT, or whatever it is you want it to say. It feeds into our subconscious. I would also remind people that we have human brains, designed to THINK and JUDGE. So nothing has gone wrong and often when we spin in self-criticism about the problem, we create more of it. SO be kind to yourself, and your brain.

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

I love my podcast, I really do. I designed it for short episodes for busy people looking for simple actionable tools they can apply each week with low effort to get results — F*CK Anxiety & Get Sh*t Done. I also love the work of Eckhart Tolle and Brooke Castillo

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

There are many. Let’s go with — “you are either winning or learning” by Nelson Mandela. Often we WANT to be learning before we are winning. So we create the blueprint for success — this ties in nicely with slowing down to do more!

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. 🙂

Teaching children how to feel their emotions in school, from a young age.

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

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