The way we level up is to slow down.
At first blush, I know this can sound counterintuitive.
When we feel like we’ve hit a wall, a plateau, or we’re in a transitional phase that feels anything but clear, our instincts are often to keep going and push through. The logic is that if we do, we’ll eventually find ourselves on the other side of this uncomfortable phase and back in our flow.
The opposite, however, is often true. When we’re in a cycle of perpetual motion, caught up in the stress and busyness of our lives, it can be incredibly difficult to:
- recognize how we’re feeling,
- discern what our needs are,
- notice what our body is attempting to communicate,
- attune to what our intuition is whispering.
This makes it nearly impossible to reach our next level of leadership or personal growth. When we do, the transformation is unsustainable.
There is no sustainable next level if we are cut off from all these integral parts of ourselves.
An iceberg is a great example. The portion you see above the waterline looks big and impressive but is only a mere 10% of the whole iceberg. The majority of it lies below the surface and is outside of our awareness.
When we are constantly on the go and/or under a lot of stress, we tend to stay stuck in our rational minds (overthinking, circular reasoning, and analysis paralysis). We go through our busy days in a fragmented, transactional way, unaware that we are cut off from more expansive ways of knowing. When we’re unable to access deeper, more resourceful states, such as our intuition and creativity, we can remain stuck and narrowly focused.
That’s why we need to slow down to level up.
Slowing down and creating space, especially when we feel we don’t have time (hint: that’s precisely when we need to), allows us to tune into ourselves in a way we can’t when we are too busy surviving, striving, or achieving. It allows us to go below the surface and access more of our innate resources.
When slowing down becomes part of our daily practice, no different from ensuring we brush our teeth each day, we have access to more of our somatic and intuitive wisdom, which directly impacts how we show up to live and lead. Next level stuff, right here.
When was the last time you consciously brushed your teeth, by the way? If you’re anything like me you likely don’t even recall doing it, although you know you did. We were likely on autopilot, thinking or worrying about something else entirely. A tip to remind us to slow down is to pick a daily task like this one you’re already doing. Try doing it slowly and consciously. Just notice how it feels. Notice what you notice, and see if you can bring that same presence into another daily task. This practice can help us slow down and begin to tune into ourselves differently, accessing what is below our personal ‘waterline.’
✨ When was the last time you consciously slowed down?
✨ When did you last check in with yourself and listen for a response?
✨ The next time you feel yourself rushing through a task or your day, can you stop for a moment and notice how your body is feeling?
✨ Can you create some space for yourself today, even if it’s only a few conscious minutes?
✨ What does it feel like to sit still and do nothing?
Hit reply and let me know.
If you find yourself genuinely unable to sit still or terribly uncomfortable attempting to, do not worry. You are doing it perfectly.
It can be quite disconcerting to slow down when we have become habituated to being on the go, mentally and physically, all the time. It takes practice, and it is so worth it to be able to hear yourself again.
And when you’re feeling impatient with yourself, come back to these words:
“If we can accept where we are right now, who we are right now, we allow the ego to loosen its grasp, its judgment. If we remember that the soul’s unseen universe is perpetually in bloom, from within us, within the heart, we can trust that our work in service of love has its own divine timing.”
~ Meggan Watterson
Trust the (slower) timing of your life. Faster doesn’t mean better (or next level).