Here’s Your Permission Slip to Embrace Slow

My husband used to tease me that I only had two modes:

The default mode – ON.

Always DOING. Accomplishing. Achieving. Pushing myself harder and harder until the job was done and the goal was met.

And when being ON for too long finally burned me out – I’d crash and burn into OFF mode (where there were days of binging on Netflix and catching up on sleep).

Eventually, it got to the point where going into OFF mode wasn’t enough. A few days break didn’t leave me feeling rested… I actually felt more tired. My energy reserves were completely depleted.

It was over 7 years ago when I finally got the message. That was the year that the burnout went from just feeling a little tired to weekly panic attacks complete with trips to the ER… and what was later diagnosed as adrenal fatigue.

I had spent YEARS telling everyone that I thrived in high-stress, high-pressure environments (yep – the ol’ ego loved that badge of honor). Now, I understand that high-stress environments activate the release of adrenaline and cortisol – the fight-or-flight hormones. Great if you’re walking through the woods and end up facing a bear. Not so great if that metaphorical bear is literally following behind you every day, all day, for years on end.

Only having 2 settings – ON and OFF – was literally toxic for my health, my marriage, and my life.

That’s why it breaks my heart to see so many heart-centered entrepreneurs getting swept up into the hype of this ALL-OR-NOTHING mindset.

We’re being told that we should reach and make millions, that a six-figure business is just a few months away, and that you need to be everywhere, right now, to be successful.

These messages are whipping us into a frenzy, making us feel not only like we aren’t DOING enough… but that WE aren’t enough.

As my friend Tea Silvestre says…

Panic is not a business strategy!

What would happen if we embraced a new paradigm?

I can’t help but love the SLOW movement. It’s all about simplifying life and getting back to what matters most. We want to feel more connected in every area of our lives – from our food to our families to our lifestyle. Doing LESS but experiencing MORE. More ease. More freedom. More love.

Why not bring some of that into our business?

Here are a few of my favorite SLOW business (and life) strategies:

1. Take a Business Savasana.

If you’ve taken the Fired Up & Focused Challenge, you know that this is one of my most cherished rituals. It’s time AWAY from your business, where you allow yourself to be fully present in the rest of your life. I know as entrepreneurs, it’s challenging to shift gears! But making time every day, every week, and even every month to un-plug from your biz and plug-in to your life is crucial to long term success.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a weekend off – go schedule it. Seriously. Block the time off in your calendar.

And plan something FUN. Why? I’ve found that if we don’t actually plan something fun – especially when that non-stop to-do list is whirring in the back of our brain – we’ll default to work. So go on a hike. Plan a girls weekend trip to the beach. Get away! It’s good for you (and your biz).

2. Embrace Small.

The best part about the early years in your biz? Being small. It affords an intimacy that you simply can’t have when your business has thousands of clients or followers. Embracing small gives you a unique opportunity to deepen those relationships. If you’re always looking over the heads of those right in front of you, looking for the next clients, feeling like the size of your list or the number of clients isn’t enough – you’re missing out on a HUGE opportunity to deeply impact and transform one persons life (and trust me – they will forever change yours too).

What would it look like if you created more opportunities to really connect with your community? The best part about hosting a Facebook group… or just jumping on the phone with a few people each month… or hosting a local meetup… is the opportunity to simply listen. Not only will you deepen those relationships and build that know-like-trust that you hear about so much, but you’ll have incredible insights into exactly what your peeps are looking for from you.

3. Sustainability Matters.

When I think of sustainability, I think of farming. When a farmer is only focused on the fastest path to profits, he takes short-cuts. He clear cuts the forest, depletes the soil of nutrients, and ships off un-ripened produce to a grocery store half way around the world. But the next year… he’s screwed. He’s got to work even harder to ship that same tasteless tomato.

But what happens when the farmer is focused on sustainability? He knows how to replenish the soil. He uses the best farming techniques. And when he shows up to your local farmers market, you’re getting the most delish tomato ever. You’d hold that sun-ripened tomato and eat it right there, like an apple. And every tomato season, you’ll show up at his stand again and again, because he has committed to being the BEST.

When you take your time to develop your business and your offerings, you give yourself permission to do your BEST work. Too often, in a rush to make the dolla dolla bills, we find ourselves launching something new every other month. What would happen if you took your best program or service, and doubled down on your efforts to make it even better?

So when you find yourself thinking those panicky thoughts of ‘I’m not enough’ or ‘This isn’t happening fast enough’ – remember to take a deep breath, plan a business savasana, and embrace slow.