Pursue What Matters
Episode 170: Slow Down to Speed Up – Part 1
Please excuse any typos, transcripts are generated by an automated service
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Are you rushing ahead like a runaway train? Not sure when you will come to a stop. Maybe it’s time to slow down. But I’m not talking about derailing the train, but refocusing so you can do your best work.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:16
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So I’ve got a question for you. Do you struggle to get everything done? Are you trying to become more organized so you can get more done? That’s a common tactic. And what I would say is a stop now. So instead of trying to get more done, let’s focus on doing the right things. And letting go of everything else. I know that’s radical, but it’s really important for greater focus, greater success and contributing at your higher level. And so every week with a podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters by strengthening your confidence to lead. I do that by helping you lead with clarity, which is connecting you to purpose, leading with curiosity, which connects you to self awareness and self reflection, and leading and building a community. So that you can strengthen your team with all of the important skills that make for strong teams. And so today, I’m going to really help you slow down so that you can speed up. And we’re going to do that in two ways.
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:47
So what we’ve got today is part one, and next week is part two. And so how can you slow down in order to speed up, so it requires two things. First, it requires you to prioritize. And second, it requires you to organize. And so today, we’re going to tackle part one, which is learning to prioritize, so we’re going to slow down in order to speed up through prioritizing. And then of course, part two will come out to next week. And we’re going to focus on slowing down to speed up through organizing. So when I talk about speeding up, I’m not talking about just getting more stuff done. But getting the right stuff done doing more of what is purpose driven for you. And so today, you know, we’re really going to be focusing on clarity and having, having a good why for what you’re doing. And so that’s how we’re going to help strengthen your confidence to lead. And so join me next week, as we talk about part two, which is organizing, and today we’re gonna jump right in, and look at how you can slow down so that you can prioritize. So slowing down helps you connect with yourself, your goals, your purpose, and your passion. And those are all really important for understanding how we can reach our potential and how we can contribute at our highest level. And so as we talk today about prioritizing, I have four steps to really help you slow down in order to prioritize, prioritize. So step one, let’s turn down the speed of life. Do you ever feel like speed it that like life is just rushing ahead and you’re barely hanging on? I mean, I’ve definitely felt that way. So we want you to create space in your calendar to slow down and you probably need to be very, very intentional about this. And I would mark it in your calendar of this is whitespace. This is downtime, this is unscheduled time, that’s something that I’ve started doing almost exclusively on weekends now, because I just have big blocks of unscheduled time. And I can’t tell you how greatly that’s benefited me. It’s just such a relief. And sometimes I you know, work on, you know, projects related to home. Sometimes I putter around the house, that’s kind of my new favorite activity. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I do nothing at all.
Dr. Melissa Smith 4:26
And so it’s less about not doing things and it’s more about having space on your calendar so that you can connect with how am I feeling? What do I need to do what, what feels meaningful and what would be enjoyable, right? We want to pay attention to that. So we want to create space in your calendar. And right now right summer is a really good time to slow down the pace of activities. We want you to reset expectations during your prioritize time so that That’s the time and watch to block out. So I want you to demand less of yourself, I want you to resist the pressures of others. And I want you to consider maybe even having an out of office email, or communications with certain people.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:18
So you know, I do plenty of work with Dr. Brene Brown and her team. I’m a certified Dare to Lead facilitator. And one of the things that they’ve done, they’ve really led by example here, and they have said, we are going to turn down the speed of life this summer. And so they will still have coverage, right for like our facilitators, those that work with them. But they’re basically taking a summer break. And so they’ve communicated and they’re going to be less responsive. They give, they set expectations of what to expect with responsiveness. But I think that’s really great. And so they are a great leading organization that has said, you know, what, we need a break, we need to slow down. And Brene talked about this on her social media accounts. And it was really lovely, really great way of resisting the pressure of others and saying, This is what our team needs. And so of course, your team might not be able to do that. But are there ways that you can reset some of your expectations for a couple of weeks or for some of the summer or for the rest of the summer? Right? I know, we’re, we’re still in summer, I’m not going to say that we’re getting away from summer, but reset those expectations.
Dr. Melissa Smith 6:36
So that’s step one, is we want to turn down the speed of life. And now let’s head to step two, which was we want to turn down the volume of self talk. Now this one might be a little bit more challenging to do. So what do I mean when I say turn down the volume of self talk? So that chatter that negative self talk is not your is not your friend, and many of us have a lot of chatter in our heads. So these are these negative ruminations that you should do this, you shouldn’t do that you are you guys are guilty about this, I have a great podcast, where I review the book chatter. So I will link to that book in the show notes. But when I talk about turning down the volume of self talk, we want to turn down statements such as I should do this, I can’t do that. Others will be so disappointed, I can’t let others down. These, these thoughts are not helpful. And they really keep us charging ahead in ways that don’t serve us and don’t serve others. And so give yourself permission to slow down, give yourself permission to talk back to that self talk, we also want you to examine your story. So Dr. Brene Brown talks about the SFTS or the shitty first drafts. So if you think about your negative self talk about why you can’t take a week off, or why you can’t reset expectations for a couple of weeks, that you sit down and you write out your SFD with all the doom and the gloom and the guilt and the criticism, and then go back and reread it. And what you’ll probably find is it’s a really nice reality check to be like, Oh, my goodness, like this is so silly. And then rewrite a better story where you are no longer a victim or a villain or a martyr. And you get to decide it’s your life, you get to make some decisions there and see what kind of wiggle room there is.
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:33
Now, we all know that we have obligations and commitments, so you can’t overhaul your life in a day. And that’s certainly not what I’m advocating. But where could you have just a little more flexibility with yourself. One of the things that I noticed this was a few years ago, but I would come home from work. And then I would be moving until it was bedtime, right? Taking care of kiddos helping with dinner, taking care of laundry, right, like all the things that we do in family life. And I get to the end of the night and like I’m so exhausted, and I was like time to go to bed and repeat it all over again. And so one of the things that I did is like I’m going to sit down. There will always be more things to do, right. So by a certain time in the evening, it’s like I’m done with chores, right? I’m done with the other stuff. And I’m going to take a break. Sometimes you could do that, as you get home from work to say, You know what, I’m going to sit down for 20 minutes and relax or meditate or visit with family members. And so a lot of times we just don’t give ourselves much permission to slow down. And that can be a big result of that loud volume of self talk. And so that’s our second step is to turn down the volume of self talk. And now let’s head towards step three, which is we want to turn toward self reflection.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:53
Okay, and now these also help us to address curiosity right to help you to lead through care. reality because self reflection is all about curiosity. And so I have some self reflection questions for you to consider. So you could ask them, these are great things to journal, you could also audio record or just consider them, right? Just think about them. So what matters most to you? Right? When it comes to your personal life when it comes to your professional work? Right? So you can answer that question in a couple of different ways. The second question is why? Right? So what matters most to you? And why? So what? Where do you feel like you can really, the next question is, where can you contribute at your highest level?
Dr. Melissa Smith 10:39
So you might be good at several things. But what is it that lights you up? And why? Who can you best serve? And how can you do more of what you’re really good at? And I think that’s a really important question for each of us to ask, How can you do more of what you’re really good at. Because if you could do more of what you’re really good at, it protects you from burnout, you serve at a higher level, your expertise really elevates, and you’re more helpful to more people. And so asking some of those self reflection questions, I think can be really helpful. self reflection slows us down, it helps us to introspect and to really gain more awareness of our needs and our desires, our sense of purpose. And so that’s step three, turn towards self reflection. And now let’s head to step four, which is turn toward healing activities, we need to slow down, especially if you’ve been running at a high speed. So we want you to consider activities that are designed to help you integrate your experiences. We want to think about activities designed to help you recover, renew, and realign. And so I’ve got some examples of each of those categories.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:02
So first, let’s talk about recovery activities. So mindfulness activities are super helpful here. So examples of mindfulness activities include meditation, who do get a meditation app, they’re free, there’s lots of options, 10 minutes a day, the research supports that 10 minutes a day can really make a big difference in helping you recover, helping you to cope with stress. Another mindfulness activity includes progressive muscle relaxation, another recovery activity includes paced breathing, so we’re talking about deep diaphragmatic breathing where we have, you know, if we’re, we’re looking at recovery and relaxing, then we want the inhale count just a little bit shorter than the exhale, count. So maybe we do four to five counts on the inhale, and the five to six counts on the exhale. But the key is, you’re really slowing down that breathing process. You’re deepening that breathing process and getting getting the nice diaphragmatic. Breathing. So those are some examples of mindfulness activity. So we’re still talking about recovery activity. So the first category we talked about was mindfulness activities. Then we also have coping skills. So here, let’s think about balanced movement. Let’s think about social connection. Let’s think about emotional expression, right? These are all effective coping skills. And coming up in a couple of weeks, I’m going to have a great podcast on evidence based coping skills. And I’ll be talking about each of these in more detail. But when we think about emotional expression, right, sometimes we just need to cry that helps us to integrate our emotions make sense of what we’ve experienced, laughing is a coping skill. They were talking about deep belly laughs They help us to bring in perspective and help us to connect to others. We also think about emotional expression via journaling can help you to challenge yourself, talk and help you to bring in perspective. And so each of those can be really helpful. And so let’s head to the next category of recovery activity.
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:13
So right we’ve talked about mindfulness activities. We’ve talked about coping skills. And now let’s think about bodywork. So yoga, yoga can be incredibly beneficial here, there’s a ton of research that supports yoga, and it’s kind of you get more bang for your buck if you’re paying attention, because yoga, of course, is bodywork, but it’s also if you have a good yoga instructor, you’re also getting paced breathing, and that’s really one of one of the key factors that makes yoga so beneficial. It’s not just the movement, but it’s the movement with awareness. It’s the movement with that pace breathing. And when we are engaged in paced breathing, it brings us into awareness. You have to pay attention to what’s happening in your body and you When we think about bodywork activities, they’re really designed to bring in that full body awareness, we think about interoception. And Yoga is a great option for that. We also think about massage. But think about massage, think about cranial sacral massage, think about foot mapping with reflexology, these can all be very helpful. And they are designed to not only be relaxing, hopefully, they’re not always relaxing, but to bring in awareness. So I’ve been working with the same massage therapist, I think for about 16 years. And she’s incredible. She’s really amazing. And, you know, I do a lot of powerlifting. So I often have pretty sore and tight muscles. And so my massages, they’re always relaxing, but they are also pointing me to some of my trigger points in my body and helping me to see where I need to give some extra attention where it’s like, boy, your shoulders are usually always tight. What can we do on a daily basis, we in terms of mobility and stretching, to really help address those areas. And so, body work again, is designed to bring in that full body awareness. And so sometimes even you know, the discomfort or a little bit of the pain that I experienced in massage, it’s it is designed to help me have more awareness to say, oh my goodness, when I when I get busy or focused, I chop my shoulders and they get tense. And then I you know, start to get headaches or tight neck or whatever. It’s like that’s good awareness, because that’s something that I can carry back to me to my office or to home or to wherever. I want you to think about pampering as bodywork right, so think about a pedicure. Think about a manicure, think about reflexology, you know, think about getting your hair done, right? Some of these simple activities that we do, during during the course of our days and weeks. Could be therapeutic could be helpful, right? Could be seen as pampering instead of like, oh my goodness, I gotta go to this nail appointment. Can you settle in and be aware? What does it feel like to have your feet soaking in the hot water? How does the lotion feel on your, on your legs, those sorts of things really can help those, those appointments that so many of us engage in, become recovery activities.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:27
And then the other one that I have for bodywork is rest. So you know I take a nap every day. But taking taking breaks through the day, right. So just before I recorded this podcast, it’s like, Man, my shoulders are tight. So I lay down on the floor on a pillow, and just did some stretching. And that is renewing it is recovery. And so with the recovery activities, we’ve talked about mindfulness activities, coping skills, and bodywork and then of course, stay tuned in a couple of weeks, I am going to have a lot more information for you on coping skills. So remember, we’re still on step four turn toward healing activities. And we want activities that are designed to help you recover, which is what we just talked about, renew and realign.
Dr. Melissa Smith 18:13
So now let’s talk about renewal activities. So these are activities that can get you excited, that bring in optimism and hope for the future that can give you a break from what you’re doing every day, right give you a break from work. So when we think about renewal activities, I want you to think about hobbies, I want you to think about passion projects, service opportunities, where you feel a great deal of purpose, I want you to think about learning a new skill. So skill development can be very helpful. And then activities that engage curiosity and excitement. So I’ve got a few examples of these. So learning a new skill.
Dr. Melissa Smith 18:58
So my guy friend has been learning French for for a while now he has, you know, some leadership opportunities, where speaking French is very helpful, and he’s gotten really good at it. And I just want to make the case that these renewal activities don’t have to be miserable. They don’t have to be burdensome. So he uses a language learning app. It’s really, really good. And he he does it every single day. It requires him to speak. It requires him to read. And it’s been really helpful. And he he recently had a trip where he was using these language skills and he’s like at work like he was conversant and he understood so much more with those he was working with. And so learning a new skill can be simple. There are so many resources out there. One of the skills that I’m working on because I am so bad I cannot navigate my way out of it. paper sack, like, literally, it’s almost that bad. But geography is something I want to get better at. And so, you know, I found a nice little app. And I am, I am strengthening my skills with geography. And so you know, I take these little quizzes, it’s fun, it’s easy. It’s something I can do when I have downtime, because it’s just on my phone. And that’s, I’m feeling great about it. And I’m loving, learning about these countries and where they are at the map on the map. And I’m kind of a geek when it comes to history and politics. And so recognizing right that the very important influence of geography, on on politics, and so it’s been fun, and it’s just helps me to have another entry point into things that I already care about.
Dr. Melissa Smith 20:50
Anything that engages curiosity and excitement, so last week, or a few weeks ago, I was traveling, and there was a fish hatchery. And so we stopped. And we spent some time at the fish hatchery learning about learning about fish in the streets and the lakes, of one of one of our neighboring states. And it was really, really fun. And so renewal activities really engage excitement, curiosity, and fun. So that’s the thing, I want you to think about what these renewal activities, they also help you to kind of reset and give you a break from, you know, the things that you’re typically focusing on, like with work, and at home. And so those are our renewal activities for you. And then last, but not least, let’s think about realignment activities. And so these are activities that are really designed to help you realign with purpose, realign with your values. And so think about purpose driven activities. So this, we might think about service opportunities here charitable activities can be very helpful here. We think about, are there ways, even with work where there are volunteer opportunities that could be meaningful and could give you another entry point into your work and shift perspective? I think that can be really helpful. When we think about realignment activities, I want you to pay attention to having an unapologetic yes and an empowered No. And so thinking about what are we saying yes to what are we saying no to? What kind of guilt do we have about that, and learning to you know, own your yeses and your nose. And then the last thing on realign activities is I want you to think about daily choices that support your higher purpose, daily choices that support your desire to fulfill potential.
Dr. Melissa Smith 22:50
And so these can be small activities, whether that’s aligned with spirituality, whether that’s aligned with specific goals that you have, that really helps you to stay on track. What journey are you on? And how do you know if you’ve gotten off the trail. And so these are activities that really help us stay connected to purpose. So sometimes it could be an inspiring book that you’re reading or quotes that are meaningful, it can be spiritual activities, right? Like I mentioned, whether that’s prayer, whether that’s reflection, but these activities, so the recovery activities, or renewal activities, and the realignment activities are designed to help you slow down, right, so this is part of Step four, where we want you to turn toward healing activities.
Dr. Melissa Smith 23:39
And so again, today, we’ve talked about slowing down to speed up. And this has been part one, the two ways that I want you to slow down to speed up include first prioritizing and second organizing. And so of course, we’ll cover organizing next week, and today we talked about prioritizing. And with that we talked about four steps. So one, we want to turn down the speed of life. Two, we want to turn down the volume of self talk, three, we want to turn toward self reflection, and four we want to turn toward healing activities. And those healing activities included activities designed to help you recover, renew and realign and we gave you a few ideas in each of those.
Dr. Melissa Smith 24:27
And so I hope you’ll head over to my website to check out the show notes with the resources for this episode. You can do that at www.drmelissasmith.com/170-slowdownpart1. So one more time that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/170-slowdownpart1 as in the number one and please join me on Instagram @dr.melissasmith, I’d love to connect with you there. I’ll have all of these resources available for you there. So you can share them so you can save them and so that they can be helpful for you as you move forward in life. In the meantime, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai