• Laura E.P. Sheehan

Slowing Down to Move Faster

The concept seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Slow down to move faster. What?!

Isn't it better to move forward full-force in order to more quickly achieve your objectives?


I vividly remember the first time someone said this to me. I had recently decided to pursue employment as a career coach and I was convinced that I only had 18 months to get my act together and become a self-sustaining entrepreneur in the coaching world. When we move every 2-3 years, time is of the essence, right?


I was reaching out to others in the coaching industry to ask them for advice on what steps to take next. I would tell each potential mentor about my past professional experiences, my future plans, and the need to get everything squared away as soon as possible. Most listened attentively (as coaches are trained to do...hahah!) and would give me very superficial guidance on how to proceed. I would thank them for their time and helpful insights and move onto the next call.


The last call I scheduled was with a very successful executive coach. I couldn't wait to hear what she had to say. After the regular introductions and brief summary of my past, present and future, she paused and told me very directly,"I think you need to slow down."


I was stunned. What did that mean? Was my plan not a good one? Didn't she think I was a good fit for the coaching industry? Was she trying to "burst my bubble" and deflate all of the excitement I had for my new career path?


I was tempted to quickly dismiss her advice as misplaced and malice-filled. Thankfully, I didn't. My initial insecurities aside, she truly had my best interests in mind. It has taken me time, training, and reflection to understand the wisdom she conveyed that day, and it has made all the difference.


How? Well, like most, I get stuck in my head. I get overwhelmed by all that could/should/must be done. I have a self-imposed sense of urgency for every task that I set before myself. When I don't meet my own (truly imaginary) deadlines, I am disappointed with my lack of progress...which spins into sadness, anger and regret...and amplifies the ever present fear of "can I really do this?"


But when I slow down and give myself time to breathe, time to reflect, THAT is when I get all of my best ideas, my vision clears, my confidence soars, and hope flows freely.


Guess what I did today? NOTHING...well, nothing directly related to my work. I actually made time for a nap, read an ENTIRE book, went for a long walk with my dog and my younger daughter (and ate ice cream along the way), and when I came home, I was ready to write. I knocked out a few articles, book reviews, and correspondence. I made GREAT progress because I had taken the time to stop multi-tasking, stop worrying, stop trying to do, do, do, run, run, run.


I slowed down, let the day run its own course and in turn, I was inspired to create...which WILL move me forward.


How can you slow down? What tasks can wait for tomorrow...or the day after that? How can you make more time to be in the present, enjoy the moment? Have you ever noticed that when you try to force something that it doesn't work...but when you relax and let events play out in their own time that everything does end up working out the way that it should?


BE the proverbial tortoise in the fabled "Tortoise and the Hare." Take your time, as slow and steady really can win the race.

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