Go Slow to Go Fast

Up until about 3 years ago, this is what a typical day would look like for me...

Alarm goes off. Have to get up to struggle through the morning workout… BUT maybe I’ll skip today and get an extra hour of sleep.

I finally get up. Head to Starbucks for my no-sugar vanilla latte to kickstart my day. Have a long day of workshops and gotta be ON IT.

Log in to work. My email is flooded, including an urgent request from my leadership on a presentation needed by tomorrow and I see one of my high performing team members has set up time on my calendar. Oh man, what now. OK, now let’s see how I can fit this stuff in on top of everything else I have to do today.

I host the workshop or slew of back to back meetings, multi tasking during breaks to take care of other work fire drills.  

I meet with my employee who has expressed that he’s not happy with his current role and is thinking about switching jobs.

Inside, I can TOTALLY relate, but instead, I tell him about all the cool stuff coming up and that we’ll try to identify other opportunities on his current team to use his skills so he will stick around.

I have to delegate presentations to other team members due to all the shit going on that day.

I rushed through important financial reports due to account deadlines… dragging my feet through it because I HATE finance (this is NOT what I went to school for or am interested in… why am I having to do this?!). I missed an important number in the process and get reamed by leadership for the error.

By the end of the day, my to-do list has grown.

A few things have been checked off but there’s not even time to recognize or celebrate those because the next thing is already occupying my energy.

I host a great client workshop and make a big sale. I get a pat on the back from leadership but then am asked to turn around and do it again next week… for a bigger opportunity.

The “what have you done for me lately” culture is draining, exhausting, and suffocating.  

Some co-workers want to go to happy hour so of course I always join. I  could use a glass of wine (or 3) after this day!

Happy hour includes much bitching over company culture and difficult co-workers, senseless policies, and the unfair upcoming promotion process that everyone is stressed about.

Finally I get home (or back to my hotel room, in this instance), with quite a buzz. Throw on some mindless TV. Set the alarm for 5am. Then pass out.

But, I wake up at 3am realizing I didn’t send that one email… might as well do it now, so I get out the laptop.

I think... “I know this sucks, but I make a good salary that allows me to travel and live a nice lifestyle, so of course I need to sacrifice and work long hours… it’s just how it is.”

Repeat Daily.

Even just writing this makes me cringe, knowing that that was my reality for so long.

Then I started adopting a daily (let’s be real… not always daily) mindfulness practice and this is what my days started looking like… (longer story of my journey into mindfulness is here).

I get up at 6am, eager to head to my morning yoga class.  

I come home, shower, get a morning meditation in, and make a fresh green smoothie.

I don’t check my email or social media until after my morning routine is complete (thank goodness for the Do Not Disturb function on the iPhone!).

I set a clear intention for the day.

I stream-of-conscious journal for about fifteen minutes to process those thoughts that spin around in your mind that you may not even realize are there, but are sucking your energy.

My mindfulness practice allows me to respond with more clarity and grace than the knee-jerk reactions that previously drained me and contributed to an unhappy workplace.

I now have more power and freedom in my career.

I am using my creativity and focusing on my strengths, and still making a good living without being in an environment that is toxic and misaligned to my values and vibe.

It’s a relief to know that we don’t have to torture ourselves to make a good living, though that is the culture at many companies and the norm many of us get used to.

At the end of the work day, I feel accomplished.

I worked hard, but I’m not drained and bitter. I make a friend date to take a walk around Town Lake and get to catch up while enjoying some fresh air.

I’m not “working for the weekend”. I am living life each day. With intention and passion.

My mindfulness practices have enabled me to be much more conscious about how I spend my time.

And brought huge awareness to what drains me and what energizes me, which has led to massive changes in my life.

What’s the secret sauce?

Well, there isn’t one.

But I can tell you that transformation is all about small daily actions.

Incremental sustainable change.

Then one day, you turn around, and you’re practically a different person.

You don’t stress about the same things you used to. And you can focus on cultivating what you want in your life with more intention and speed.

Don’t know where to get started? Shoot me a reply and I’ll get you a copy of my Mindfulness Starter Kit that not only has 3 steps to help you boost your focus and get centered, but other juicy tips and mindfulness app recommendations.

Trust the process. Go slow to go fast. Transform.



Elizabeth St. JohnComment