One thing I’ve recently learned about myself is that I tie my value to work. Even as I type that out, I cringe…but it’s true. The more I work, the better I feel about myself. While this way of doing things has no doubt played a role in all I’ve accomplished, it also means that when I slow down and ease up off the work, I question my purpose. Not good, but once we know, we can fix it!
In the past, slowing down for me meant taking a few small vacations (and maybe one big vacation) every year. During the vacation, I’d mostly be off but still checking emails. I would take the vacation, enjoy myself and then come back ready to work. I came to realize that vacations are work all on their own!
Sure, it’s not physical or mental work, but it’s a different kind of work. Like when they say “I need a vacation from my vacation”! All that means to me is that my previous plan of “slowing down” during vacations wasn’t really much of a plan.
Now, I’m striving to be much more intentional with slowing down. I’m working on untying my value from work. Because of this type of work and intentionality, I’m growing in more ways than I realized. I’m sharing 5 ways slowing down fosters growth. My hope is that this encourages you to intentionally slow down when you need to.
5 Ways Slowing Down Fosters Growth
#1 Slowing down forces you to acknowledge the “problem”
My dad was killed by a drunk driver when I was 24. He was only 51 and healthy. So, you can imagine how much of a shock his death was. I was still living in California at the time, but decided it was best to move back home and be closer to my mom and brother.
My dad left behind a publicly-traded oil company and a small independent oil company. The publicly-traded company had its own protocols and people to take over. If you’re wondering what happened – the company no longer exists. I’ll just leave it at that. The other company had no one to step in and run it, so I did. My brother was already working for the other company, so he came on board as well.
I dove into cleaning up, organizing and getting a new company formed so that my brother and I could work it. I consumed myself with work. It helped forget about my pain. When things got caught up and we had a flow going, I took back my previous job from California – only now working from home.
I was living life. Understanding my dad was gone, but consumed with that small company, starting City Girl Savings and working in corporate. It all caught up with me. I started feeling rage, insecurity and I snapped at the people closest to me. It got so bad that my boyfriend told me I should find a way to be happy again.
He was right. I consumed myself and got so busy with things so I wouldn’t think about the tremendous hole in my heart I was left with after my dad died. Unfortunately, running from the problem wasn’t a true fix. I finally got myself in to see a grief counselor and faced every feeling I was running from.
Slowing down forces you to acknowledge the problem. Regardless of what the problem is, facing it is terrifying. But it needs to be done.
#2 Slowing down allows you to be creative
When you’re mentally consumed with work, your business, your relationships or whatever else, your mind is so focused on those things. It’s incredibly hard to be creative or innovative when your mind is tied to all the things you have going on.
When you slow down, your mind slows down too. This opens the door for you to be creative and for those great ideas to come. For me, I get my creative ideas when I wake up in the middle of the night. I know, it’s weird, but it’s true. I think it’s because my mind is too consumed during the day. When I sleep at night, my mind slows down. If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night, creative ideas come to me.
#3 Slowing down helps you figure out your next move
One of my top strengths is “Futuristic”. It means I can see an outcome I want to be true and work towards that outcome. It also means I can help others see outcomes as well. I think it contributes to me being a great coach! I see the finish line and I don’t stop until I reach it. While this has certainly helped me reach a lot of goals, it doesn’t foster any type of “slowing down” mentality.
Sometimes, I can get so caught up in the finish line that I skip or miss steps to getting there. When you take the time to slow down, you can figure out the next best move to take. This can save a lot of time and help you avoid errors. It’s perfectly okay to see the end goal, just make sure you’re not running so fast to get there that you miss an important step!
#4 Slowing down gives your brain and body the chance to recharge
Burnout is real. It’s something that hard workers, high-achieving individuals, and people with a lot on their plates deal with on a regular basis. Burnout can lead to health issues, high stress levels, depression, and a slew of other negative side effects. One of the best ways to beat burnout is to slow down.
Take time to step away from the things that are forcing you to work so hard. Break up your day with a walk outside, listening to your favorite music. Indulge in your favorite TV show at the end of a long day. Take a vacation! Do things that help your brain and body recharge, so you can perform at your best when it’s time to work.
#5 Slowing down is a form of self-care
I want to end with this: slowing down is a form of self-care. When you care about yourself, you can foster growth. The ability to pause and give your mind, body, and soul the chance to sit and breathe is invaluable. I know it’s not easy – especially when you’re working towards things that really matter, but it’s necessary.
Slowing down is your way of showing your mind and body that you care. It’s your way of bringing peace to your world of chaos. Don’t take it for granted. That peace is needed to foster growth within ourselves!
Related: 6 Signs You Need a Vacation
While I do believe untying my value from work will serve me in plenty of ways, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop working hard. I believe my hard work has served me very well up until this point. However, to get to the next level as an individual and business owner, I need to learn how to grow even in times of slowing down.
Do you struggle with slowing down? In what ways do you slow down to grow? I’d love to hear, so drop a comment below to share!