Mar 09, 2022 | Your Self
Catherine A. Wood
The Consequences of Living in a 24/7 World
I have been in a lot of conversations with clients, friends, and with myself recently about slowing down.
Slowing down is tricky, isn’t it?
Because when things are going well, we naturally want to lean in and ride the wave, i.e. the opposite of slowing down. And when things aren’t going well and slowing down may be even more necessary to gain that much needed clarity and perspective, we feel undeserving or like ‘we can’t’ because we have to ‘fix or solve’ what’s not working.
Here’s the thing though, we don’t have unlimited energy.
I have personally experienced one too many times the consequences of believing this farce.
It’s almost comical to remember at this point, the winters early on in my business when I was on antibiotics seemingly every single month to help with the sinus infections that I ‘just didn’t understand why’ I kept getting even though I was burning the candle at both ends, working 7 days a week, trying to make my numbers to be able to quit my 9-to-5…
Or a couple years prior when I still lived in the Dominican Republic and was out of work for 3 weeks on forced bed rest due to acute bronchitis when I was finishing up my MBA capstone while also traveling around la isla on a weekly basis to monitor the community-run ecotourism start-up grants that I was directly responsible for.
I KNOW what it is like to force myself into submission and do the opposite of slowing down.
Similarly, I know the fruits of playing this game and the very real benefits of operating in this way. Much of my early success in business resulted from my then activated workaholic tendencies and tenacity for reaching goals.
But I have come to realize that our bodies, businesses and relationships force us to slow down eventually if we’re not willing to course correct on our own.
I deeply appreciate these hard-won life lessons dealt me over the years as they have caused me to fundamentally change.
For me, these lessons have presented themselves in the form of sinus infections, bronchitis, and locked necks for days.
Clients have distinguished illnesses, wellbeing breakdowns, chronic overwhelm or fatigue, money evading them, client contracts ending, or space in their calendars being created ‘seemingly on their behalf’ when they were unwilling to claim the space and boundaries on their own.
It is NOT easy to slow down and:
- live fundamentally differently when we are surrounded by others operating on a 24/7 schedule.
- live on your own terms when you don’t have a model of someone doing it well.
- run your business differently when things are going exceedingly well and opportunities keep getting bigger and brighter and shinier.
Fundamental change or transformation as it is called in the coaching world occurs typically in one of two ways. My favorite explanation of this distinction is shared by Dr. Michael Beckwith, who says “The pain pushes until the vision pulls.”
Essentially, this fundamental change occurs when the consequences of continuing to operate in the same fashion become too great and you are pushed forward OR the future possibility of what your life and business could become pulls you forward.
Earlier this week, I raised a conversation with my UNBOUNDED Mastermind community about this distinction of slowing down. I shared with them that…
- Yogis say “root down to rise up.”
- Meditators say “ground down to rise up.”
- Ontological coaches say “slow down to speed up.”
And I invited the community to share “what is your relationship to, experience of, and possibility you see in slowing down to speed up?”
And then of course, one of my clients asked me to share my answer, so here it is…
I never allowed myself to slow down to speed up for the first three decades of my life.
My identity and achievements were interwoven. Consequently, the possibility of slowing down would have cost me my limited self-worth.
As only access point to feeling good about myself revolved around…
- what I could accomplish
- what I could check off my To Do list
- who I could help
- or what I could add to my resume
…the possibility of slowing down felt incredibly risky.
It was my entire sense of self after all.
I feel sad for that younger version of myself, who worked so tirelessly and sacrificed so much. She forsook so many relationships, to maintain this sense of self-abandonment.
But I also feel incredibly grateful for who I’ve become in the process of unlearning that deep subconscious programming.
That used to be my relationship to slowing down to speed up. I have since fundamentally transformed this externally-driven model for personal fulfillment and contentment.
The woman, partner and business owner I am today deeply cherishes and honors slowing down as a fundamental way of living.
Meditation, my sacred morning routine, living by an ideal schedule, being in consistent relationship with the future vision for my life and business, having million-dollar boundaries (my favorite Rachel Rodgers phrase!), and prioritizing my relationship and friendships have all been some of the biggest contributors.
In closing, I’ve come to rely on the seasons of life and business. Just as the weather operates on seasons. As does the empath sharing and then protecting her heart and generosity. As do our girls and boys transform into princesses and princes and queens and kings of their lives. So do we in our evolution as human beings.
Who are you in the processing of evolving into as a human being?
What is the future vision that pulls you forward?
What is your relationship to, experience of, and possibility you see in slowing down to speed up?
ARE YOU READY TO TRULY CREATE YOUR PURPOSE-DRIVEN BUSINESS ON YOUR OWN TERMS?
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Catherine is a Master Certified Coach and bestselling author of Belonging: Overcome Your Inner Critic and Reclaim Your Joy.
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