Slow down: follow the example of nature

My words for the next few weeks are: Slow down. 

I had a seven-week period in which I was in a different country almost every week. All the events surrounding the book launch were happening, and I was happening with them. I went from Scotland to England to America back to Scotland, to Northern Ireland, back to Scotland again…and within those I was visiting different cities and states and islands and areas. 

Amazingly, I felt really good. I found a swimming pool in all those places and was swimming three to five times a week. I continued my habit of walking every day. I was eating well and sleeping decently well and had energy and was thrilled about it! 

I forgot that even when you have energy and feel amazing, it’s still right to slow down. Otherwise, your body will do it for you. 

It’s hard for me to slow down when I feel good. When all these things were happening, I kept waiting for the shoe to drop or to get sick or to collapse a bit…and I didn’t. For the years I lived with M.E., this kind of activity would have felt impossible: so when I’m able to do this level of activity, I just keep going.

Keeping going is one of my strengths…but it’s also one of my shadow behaviours.

So, last week, very unsurprisingly, my body did collapse a bit and I needed to cancel a few days of meetings. 

Then I got a speeding ticket in the post. 

I also remembered I would have gotten a speeding ticket in America, too, but the very nice (very young) police officer let me off with a warning. (Probably because I was visiting the States and leaving the country the next day.)

Hmmm, I thought. Maybe all this energy feels good, but what am I rushing for? 

A few weeks ago my word was “notice”. I wanted to, amongst all the events and travel, really look around and see the trees, the sky, the people, the places, the magic. 

Now my words are “slow down”, and it’s been a daily reminder this week. I wanted to go for a swim every morning, but I chose not to go several mornings, on purpose. I’d go out to run an errand and instead of running four other errands at the same time, just did the one errand and came home. 

I had my coaching session with my business coach yesterday and to some of his questions I just said, “I don’t really know right now”. We agreed that was okay, that was healthy. 

There’s a natural sort of slump, or post-win exhaustion, which kicks in after something major has finished. The book launch and all the events surrounding it were exciting! And worth celebrating! And people are reading the book and finding it helpful and telling me about it!….And I’m tired. 

I struggled writing this Note today. I skipped it last week when I wasn’t well, but I’m following the atomic-habit practice of “don’t skip twice”, so here we are. I wondered if I had anything worthwhile to say, or whether I’ve already said it many times over, or someone else has said it. 

But autumn-leading-into-winter is when the world itself slows down. Leaves fall from trees. The sun gets up later and goes down earlier. It’s darker for longer. Animals hibernate. 

Technology allows us to skip the seasons: we can turn on lights and turn up the heat and wear a headlamp and have the exact same life we had in the summer…

…but actually, it’s a good thing to mimic the season we’re in. 

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I’m not actually bummed about the grey weather we’re having. Here’s why.

I went for a walk in the MORNING today, which felt like i’m winning at life. 🏆 

Lately I’ve been fitting in my daily walk at 9 or 10pm after a long day of meetings. I’m super grateful for the way it’s still light so late at night, but a walk-at-end-of-day doesn’t have the same motivational kick as the walk-at-the-start. 🌑 

So that one little thing I did puts me at champion status, and affects my entire mindset for the day. 💪 

There are a lot of contributing factors to this morning’s walk, but the top one was that it was grey, cool, and windy...which is far more motivational to me than bright sunshine. 🌬 

I know, it’s weird.

The rest of britain is like UGH WHAT A SHIT SUMMER and i’m here going um...i really, really love the rain. And clouds. And cool breezes. And grey skies. ☔ 

I’ll join in the conversation and be like yea, yea, it really does suck...but that’s just to start conversation and show British solidarity. Deep down I don’t think it does suck. 👀 

I do like sunshine, but after spending 25 years of my life in Arizona, I don’t love or crave the heat. ☀ 

Anything over about 20 degrees and i start getting a bit antsy...and my limit is “23 with a breeze”. 😎 

If it’s higher than that I’ll literally hide inside, not rush out to sit in a beer garden or at the beach. I really don’t enjoy heat at all. 

So thanks grey skies and wind, you helped a lot today. 💪 

Just me? Everyone else dreaming of 30+ degrees and sunshine?? It’s okay if you are...i just...don’t get it. 🤣 

#justkeepgoing #walkoftheday #goodmorning #wegotthis #onestepatatime #motivation
Cancelling things is a superhero skill.

Not all the time, of course: we want to be trustworthy.

And the sheer stubbornness of being a business owner is good.

I can do it. I will do it. No matter what! I can make. this. work.

A product, an event, a new hire, a business.

So we keep pushing. Show up, send the emails, make the phone call, record the videos. More training for the new hire, more new hires. Make sure we never let anyone down.

Of course, things happen. We get sick, something happens to a family member, or there’s an emergency and we need to shift things around.

But cancelling things can be a superhero skill: when you do it well, knowing why it’s time to cut the cord and communicating it well.

Here’s some of what I consider when I’m trying to decide if it’s time to dig in, or stop & go another direction:

1. Does anyone even know about it?
Sometimes it’s been a big part of your business life and used a lot of brainpower, but no one outwith you and your team know it was meant to happen.

2. What’s the cost of not doing this now?
The full cost, more than financial, including:
- Motivational cost for you, team, clients
- Decreased trust for clients
- Loss of strategic partnership connection

3. Could you replace it with something else?
Another day, an online option, a template instead of custom build? Sometimes a replacement isn’t a cancellation at all. You’re doing it, but in a less costly way.

4. Do I have the energy and appetite to keep going?
I can do it with an automaton approach…but given the other things on my plate, where do I want my energy to go? How much do I have to give? Will it renew energy, or drain it?

I ended up cancelling a small event recently, & whilst I was disappointed, it was the right decision for these reasons.

It can feel embarrassing...but cancelling something can be a superpower, if it’s done well & communicated clearly and honestly. And when it’s more the exception than the rule.

Anything you are considering stopping? What impact might that have?

✨This is from this week’s Creative Headspace note. They go out every Friday - except for the rare occasions I skip a week for my own sanity. 😄 Sign up in bio!💌