Slowing down to Speed Up - Pace Changes Everything
Pace is something I am increasingly coming across when I’m approached for coaching and training. Lots of individuals are ‘busy’ and not sure where they are going. Or they know where they are going but are overwhelmed as there is so much to be done – where to start and how to keep focused is the key question on their mind. Leaders and managers are often reaching out seeking support in rallying their people together toward a common focus. There is an intrinsic need for people to want to work as part of a community toward a goal greater than themselves. For many, in the rush to get somewhere, they have let go of a few key elements of success.
Sometimes we need to take a breath! NOW, breathe…
There are three important aspects to success. First, it’s all about having a meaningful purpose/vision. Second, it’s about working toward clear goals and thirdly it’s all about creating focused energy to achieve your outcomes through breathing and using meditation as a tool.
If you're going someplace, it's helpful to know where it is...Whether we are talking about individuals, teams or organisations – having a clear articulated vision is so important. People need to know what their meaningful purpose is in life/work.
Next we need a plan. Our goals should be SMART, Specific, Measurable, As if now (written in positive terms and present tense) and Achievable, Realistic, Timed and toward what we want. Individuals should have them, teams and organisations need them too.
When you know what your purpose is and have a plan to get there, next you need to think about how you're going to get there - the way in which you will move into action. This includes breathing. It might sound silly I know – but it's not. I remember a joke that was told to me years ago. Now, I’m blonde so I can tell this joke:
...A blonde went into a salon to get her hair cut. She was wearing a set of headphones. The hairstylist starting trimming what she could. She told the blonde to take off the headphones, but the blonde said she couldn't. The stylist insisted, but once again the blonde said, "You don't understand, I can't." The stylist decided to take them off herself, but when she did, the blonde dropped unconscious to the floor. The stylist picked up the headphones and it said, "Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out."
It seems many of us have taken out the headphones…We may not have dropped completely unconscious but maybe we’ve gotten so caught up in the bus‘i’ness of work/life that we have lost clarity, focus and we’re losing our breath. This is when we feel tired, stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.
What does this do for your well-being or the well-being of your team and your organisation? Are you able to work to your highest potential when you're constantly out of steam?
Sometimes we need to slow down enough to make sure the actions we’re taking are deliberate and on the right track. This check-in might at least make sure we’re heading in the right direction. And we can take this even further…
If we were to STOP, take a BREATH what could that do for us? How we take action can PROPEL us even further!
Research is showing us the power of meditation. Daniel Goleman in his book Focus talks about how meditation can help us rebuild our neural pathways helping with focused attention. Barbara Fredrickson in her book Positivity talks about how positivity promotes cell growth and we can grow our positivity through meditation. Loving-kindness meditation helps us tune into ourselves. Through achieving this, we can tune into others more effectively. Jean Kristeller talks about the power of meditation to help reduce obesity. Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about using meditation to reduce stress and much, much more! There is so much research out there.
Meditation doesn’t need to be an hour a day practice. You can spend five minutes focusing only on your breath, the one breath in that present moment. Observing thoughts that come to mind and watching them float away. It could be a body scan slowly relaxing each and every part of your body from head to toe. Or, you could simply take your shoes off in the park and concentrate on the feeling between your feet and the ground as you take a slow walk. Like most things that are good for us, the more we do of it, the greater the benefits we reap. And there are different meditations to help us with different areas of our life.
I’m beginning to draw this into my life practice. From my own experimentation I have found that meditating helps me:
Feel calmer and more focused – I can do more with less
Have a greater ability to listen and be in touch with my emotions
Have increased feelings of warmth and kindness
Increased awe of people and my environment
When I do it before bed I sleep ever so soundly! Waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the next day.
I also use meditation with my clients, mainly in coaching and my new program called #bringoutyourbestself. You can see the difference! The power of breath comes into most training and facilitation I do. Among many other outcomes, it creates focus and helps large groups build rapport.
Breath changes pace and Pace Changes Everything!