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September 3, 2021 - 1,721 comments

Slowing down to speed up

When was the last time you had nothing on your mind? 

I never used to. I always had something on my mind. Until recently, on a coaching retreat, when I intentionally created space both physically and mentally. I totally emptied my cup. 

When you are a high performer, it can feel uncomfortable to have nothing on your mind. It’s a busy life. There are things to do, figure out, build, oversee, plan for. 

If you are like me, chasing some of your impossible dreams, you’ve probably had moments where your cup felt so overflowing with things “to do” that you didn’t know what “to do”. And when you’ve got no space or time to think straight, everything becomes important… which means nothing is. 

When your cup is overflowing, you need to empty it and start again.  Or bring a much larger empty bowl and learn new tools, new practices and new perspectives in order to fill it.  Expand into a larger cup.  Otherwise, you remain stuck and overwhelmed with your little overflowing cup and never fill the space beyond it.

I learned that feeling overwhelmed is a high-quality problem. It means you are being invited to raise your awareness to a broader perspective and see your life from a higher viewpoint.   It means that soon enough this larger empty bowl could be filling up with new ways of being and operating.  It means that you are being invited to experience a new level of ease, grace and vitality you never could have attained from your little cup. It’s called growing and expanding.

I can do “speeding up”. At 14, I was a 100m finalist in the National Championships of Athletics. Metaphorically speaking, I’ve been sprinting my entire life. So, yes. I can really relate to people who like to move quickly. 

And yet here I was, in a moment of having nothing on my mind. The space created in a week of emptiness and stillness has been extraordinary. The type of experience I only read in books.

Science has proven that slowing down is essential to the process of “acceleration”.  Slowing down to speed up has been an elusive concept for a sprinter like me. 

Think of a Formula 1 racing car. Winning the race is dependent on slowing down from 240 mph to a complete stop in order to change tires.  Otherwise, the tires will inevitably wear out, shred or burst into flames. And as much as it doesn’t make sense to slow down, doing so is what makes the winning difference.  

So, those who think high performance in business is a constant state of “go” might need to watch more Formula 1 races to catch up on reality. Being a TRUE high performer means that you understand what it means to sustain your own vehicle instead of shredding your treads, burning out or losing your grip on the racetrack. 

And the more you’re a high performer, the more you need to hold your renewal zone - as sacred.  When we remember to go into our own renewal zone and give ourselves time and space to breathe, that is when we feel regenerated and can springboard back creatively, solving problems and having more energy for what’s next. 

This is why we co-created our own coaching retreat in Transylvania for our community of audacious leaders. To accelerate our work, our life and our mission by slowing down, renewing and regenerating.  To empty our cups and access our mind, heart and gut and come back ready to create the next level of success in our lives and careers. 

Understanding the true nature of acceleration is what has you win this life race... and we want you to win. 

ADA, August 2021