THE BLOG

How to Slow Your Pace for Summertime

07/16/2014 12:18 EDT | Updated 09/15/2014 05:59 EDT
Keli Hoskins via Getty Images

Warm breezes rustling through the leaves of the trees, days long and light, playful birds singing joyful songs. Summer is gently calling us to come out and play, and then rest for a while.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~ Mary Oliver

At the halfway mark of the year, it's a great time to regroup, reconnect, and recharge. This year has been moving at lightning speed and the pace, along with the ubiquitous change, has made for a challenging year so far. I've welcomed the slower pace of summertime this year and I've been reminded yet again that our current ways aren't working, that there are better possibilities for us, ones that balance and foster leadership, purpose, passion, authenticity, and overall well-being.

As I recharge in the abundance of summertime, I'm realizing that success isn't "all work and no play". I'm a "doer" and have this thing about "getting things done", even sometimes at the expense of my own inner balance and peace. Call it my Achilles heel. Yet I truly believe that we can have inner balance and peace, while working to accomplish our dreams and goals...and it begins with our definition of success.

Redefining Success...It's Sweet

"Don't just go out there and climb the ladder of success. Instead, redefine success. Because the world desperately needs it."~ Arianna Huffington

In the bestselling book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington lays out a bold and refreshing message of change, highlighting the need to redefine success and shift the focus from money and power to well-being and wonder...essentially, to thrive. It's a wake-up call, and it is well overdue. We need to shift our perspective because we know, deep down in our hearts, that it's good for everyone and when it's good for you and I, it's good for the world. It sounds simple, doesn't it?

Except...our actions aren't always congruent with our well-being and our choices aren't always wise for the world. We need to continuously remind ourselves of what is 'truly important and meaningful.'

Right now, it's far too easy to get caught up in the frenetic and chaotic energy that surrounds us. We have a tremendous amount of wisdom available to us but our fast pace is blocking our reception. It is time to slow down. It's with a slower pace that we have access to wise action and conscious choice.

Slowing Down

As I embarked on the slower pace of summer, I found myself in the heart of change, an opportunity to redefine and gain further clarity on some important things in my work and life. I don't have all of the answers and, well, it's scary. I'll admit that all this introspection is a good test of patience. It's easy for me to fall prey to the "thinking mind" which offers some really nifty short-term fixes, but they always falls short of my longer-term plan to support my dreams. So the answers lie in waiting patiently for my intuition and heart to speak and in the meantime, accepting that everything has a natural order. I have to remind myself not to muck it up and to keep the faith.

Of course, I'm not always the greatest at following instructions! This work requires the time and space to get out of daily routines, so that's exactly what I've been doing. I've come to know all to well that forcing or pushing through something when it's not ready to come out into the world, simply doesn't work. Respect it. Honour the timing.

I see this mistake happening frequently in organizations. Tight timelines placed on projects with an "at all cost to get it done approach", only to realize that by pushing through, trying to squeeze every last drop, the results are lackluster and without innovation, not to mention the team of unhappy campers, ready to jump ship.

Sound familiar?

We're constantly and madly producing at light speed. I know this way of working isn't working, and it is not sustainable. It leads to burnout, stress, and uninspired results. So let's slow the pace a bit, and appreciate a softer and gentler approach to the days ahead.

True creation and innovation requires spaciousness. They come from being quiet, mindful, and present. There is great power in leading from this place.

A big part of the daily ritual that keeps me grounded and out of my "thinking too much" mind is my writing practice. This, combined with travel and rest, is the perfect antidote. Writing my thoughts, my fears, and my intentions allows for the creative space I need to fuel the next chapter. Through this practice, I can be ready, eager, and yet patient for the harvest to come.

I hope you'll take some time off too. Time is precious. Step back and take a look at the beauty within. Pause to smell the flowers.

A few questions for your reflection:

  • How are you redefining success?
  • Growing requires us to break away from our comfort zones. Where are you growing in your life? What is coming into fullness?
  • What is out of balance? What needs to be course-corrected in your life/work?
  • Which seeds need cultivating?
  • You are the author of your next chapter. What are the themes? What's your storyline?
  • What's working well? What's not?
  • What needs renewal and attention?

Enjoy your summer!

Love and light,

Paula

PS. Did you read my article in Women of Influence Summer Issue? It contains some great reads to add to your summer list! Here are a few others I'm enjoying:

PPS. Ready for retreat? Stay tuned for dates in the autumn of 2014 and throughout 2015.