That's what I did last year. I paused taking on new culture clients to tend to things I'd been punting.
My husband Lorne and I made the decision after high stress months in our professional lives. Lorne was taking long trips to India and working 12 hour days. I was juggling clients, including facilitating multi-day events. We realized someone had to dial down or something else would give.
So I PAUSED. And came to love my newfound freedom. I turned my creative energy to the important, not urgent, items that we never had time to complete.
Like I do for my clients, I led my husband and me through a visioning process. We refined our values and drew out a vision for the rest of our lives. One goal on it? To live long and healthy lives.
With my mandate in hand, I threw myself into my new role.
I embraced our passion for health with new zeal. Only organic (and beyond organic) Whole Foods in our home and more local-farm-fresh-produce. I ditched our toxic cleaners and changed hundreds of our buying choices to cleaner, healthier options. (The Whole Foods manager had a look of horror on his face when I walked in with my big box of cleaning products to return. "What are you replacing them with?", he wanted to know.)
I drew closer to family. I spent two months helping move Lorne's father from upstate New York into a beautiful assisted living facility a mile from our home. He has become a family anchor, drawing the family closer together. More aware of the fragility of lie, Lorne and I have spent more time on the West Coast visiting my family too. Two weeks ago we were in my parents living room lovingly walking through an advanced care medical directive worksheet and talking about their end-of-life wishes, and lorne and mine as well.
I created conditions for more abundance by building our foundation. I honed our accounting system, cleaned out my closets and computer (as a self-confessed information hoarder, I deleted hundreds, gulp - actually hundreds of thousands of files slowing down my computer's performance), took a financial class and turned to house maintenance projects, like repointing the badly chipped brick wall on our home.
How about you?
At home and at work, do you have a culture that embraces the pause? The not-urgent parts of a life and business that make everything else sing? At work,
Do you know, as a collective, what you believe in, what you stand for and where you are heading? Do you have the vision and values in place that will help you make the hard choices, together?
Are you and your team mates all pulling in the same direction?
Do you have the infrastructure and feedback systems to stay on top of your game and make smart decisions? Up-to-date computers, financial books in order, and systems to stay ahead of your rapidly changing market (or funding base)?
Does your workplace have room for life? For people getting sick, or taking care of loved ones who are? For celebrations of birthdays and milestones and moments when people can let their hair down with each otters and get real.
I have a video I show clients of starlings creating a mesmerizing murmuration--thousands of starlings swirling together against a blue sky. It's a metaphor for how a group can work together when they have common passion and purpose that let's them all walk to the beat of the same drum.
I ask the people in the room what the image evokes for them. At one event, someone said it made him feel like a time he was in Alaska watching a migration of whales. And then he quickly apologized for bringing something so out-of-the-norm into the workplace.
And yet that story broke open a conversation about what the people in the room yearned for. More authenticity, greater humanness, a pause to be open to the present moment.
I've learned in life, sometimes it takes slowing down to speed up.
What about you? What areas of your work are calling you to slow down, so that in the long-term you can speed up? What are you willing to sacrifice to make that happen?