Richard is always telling me to slow down. To be honest, when he says that, it makes me really angry. Not because he’s wrong… but because he’s right.
I think our partnership is pretty unique among people who are in business together. We are brutally honest with each other. And, we are two people who like the fact that we can hold each other accountable.
What Richard sees that I cannot is what happens when I begin to lose my perspective on what is going on around me. I somehow believe that I have to rush around, doing this and doing that, to make things better. More often than not, rushing doesn’t make anything better. It just heightens my anxiety about work.
Does this happen to you? You have a “task list” a mile long and you believe that if you don’t get on all of it NOW something terrible is going to happen and there will be a lot of pain and suffering taking place.
This plagues me.
One of my strengths is that I’m an ACTIVATOR. There are a lot of positives associated with this strength, but the dark side is that I think I have to move on everything NOW, and many times I do so without thinking things through.
That can get me into trouble.
That’s when Richard starts sending me e-mails entitled, SLOW DOWN, and I begin to hear that Simon and Garfunkel tune in my head, “Slow down, you move too fast. You’ve gotta make the morning last…”
As I’ve said before, major gift fundraising is one of the toughest jobs I know of. There are so many demands: upset donors, demanding bosses, bureaucracy, proposals, dealing with program folks, etc., …and it seems like everything needs to be completed yesterday.
Well, you’ve gotta slow down. You and I can do it together. When my head is on straight, here is what I do to slow down.
- Wake up early and move around—I believe starting your day early, (5-6am) and doing something active is really helpful. Practicing this gives me a better outlook for the whole day. Go out and walk, run, swim, practice yoga – anything that gets you moving.
- Take time to be quiet—After you do your “moving around”, take time each day to be quiet. Meditate, pray, or just sit in silence. I find that taking 20-30 minutes each morning helps me set the day on the right path.
- Never sit for more than an hour—Keep your body moving. It’s good for your body AND mind to take a break.
- Breathe—Throughout the day be aware of your breath. Take 20 slow breaths and concentrate on them. It will automatically slow you down. When you start to feel anxiety or tension, this is a good remedy.
- Get good sleep—One of the best things to do is get a good 7-9 hours of sleep every night. This means going to bed by 9:30-10pm each night. DVR Mad Men, do yourself a favor, and get that well-needed rest.
- Make sure you are doing the right things – Back to what I said earlier – there are “things” and then there are the “right things”. If you do the five steps prior to this one you will be able to discern what they are.
These are just some simple things I’ve learned, and often fail at, but keep coming back to because I know they keep me balanced. When I’m practicing them consistently, I feel much better, I’m calmer and I don’t get e-mails from Richard telling me to slow down.
And, that is the final point. Have someone in your life who speaks truth to you and keeps you accountable. It’s very annoying, yet it’s also freeing to know that you will always have someone looking out for you, making sure you’re staying in balance.
Excellent article and advice. I am posting it on my refrigerator to remind me every morning to take time to breathe, at the very least!
I second the comment above and am carrying this one around with me. Sounds like I need a Richard in my life.
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. Always something worthwhile to think about.