Slowing It Down: #13 of 28 Big Ideas from the World of Coaching

This article is fourteenth in a multi-part series that adapts and excerpts my entire book, The Coach Within: 28 Big Ideas for Engaging the Power of Your Own Wisdom, Creativity, and Choices* (Everything Goes Media, 2017).


13. Slowing It Down

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”

— Lily Tomlin

“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.”

— Patty Digh

Is it possible that at some point during big idea 12 (self-care) you were thinking I don’t have enough time for this lesson, much less all of this self-care!?

Do you also recall this item from the inventory: Time and space for breathing, thinking, properly deciding, noticing your feelings?

Slowing down is today’s very cool, deceptively simple, super-powerful coaching tool.

Reducing the pace of everything and building cushions of time into your life bring the counterintuitive byproduct of getting more done, with less effort, in less time. You not only get more things done by decelerating, you get more of the most important things done. You make better decisions and choose more in alignment with your priorities and goals, which leads to fewer regrets, fewer wrong turns. Your senses of gratitude and satisfaction increase, and so does the grace and graciousness with which you pull things off.

Slowing it down extends to all units and concepts of time, from a few moments to a few minutes to a few days. It means indefinite postponement (deciding not to decide or act right now) and eliminating some things altogether. Both offer relief, freedom, and room in your schedule. (A corollary to adding time is adding space — through decluttering both the tangible and intangible.)

Consider what all is possible in just a few extra moments or minutes — if you stop rushing and pad some time around your decisions, tasks, and interactions with others: You can gather your thoughts, mull things over, hear yourself think, clear your head, find clarity on a topic, gauge your emotional temperature, recognize what you actually want, decide who you want to be, take some deep breaths, stretch, cherish the moment, appreciate the company you’re in, switch gears, focus, plan, organize, idealize, visualize, go blank, detach, do nothing, smile, center yourself, bring yourself back to the present, show up appropriately for what’s next…

Nice, eh? Starting to see the logic behind it?

Move on to the extended time of slowing down with an afternoon off, a day off, a free weekend, or a week’s vacation. What coaching benefits arise in those scheduling luxuries, or, as you hopefully come to think of them…necessities? For starters, how about recharging, recuperating, preventing a slip into illness (physical or mental), escaping, a change of scenery and routine, reconnecting with your deepest desires, unraveling your biggest sore spots and knotty mysteries, letting answers come in their own time, remembering what else there is, a new perspective, an improved attitude, time with friends, creativity, fun…

Sometimes slowing it down can be taking the longer, winding, leisurely road; sometimes it’s simplifying and taking the path of least resistance; and other times it’s saying no and not filling up your calendar with back-to-back commitments. Welcome the down time (even if and when it feels uncomfortable…you’ll adjust).


Your Coaching To-Do’s

⎕ It’s all practice! Begin inserting additional pockets of time into your life today: give yourself a few moments before hitting send on emails and before making those tough phone calls, add a few minutes before and after tasks, show up early for all appointments, work relentlessly on removing the unnecessary from your to-do lists and your life, plan some time off. In that extra time, savor your life and continue your most excellent creation of it.

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