Slow down

I'm continuing to write a set of Sunday posts that revisit in turn the ideas Tony Schwartz offered in "Turning 60: The twelve most important lessons I've learned so far". This week, I'm considering the eighth of Schwartz's observations:

Slow down. Speed is the enemy of nearly everything in life that really matters. It's addictive and it undermines quality, compassion, depth, creativity, appreciation and real relationship.

It's a funny week for me to arrive at this particular piece of advice. In the span of nine days, I'm crossing the country twice, speaking at meetings that are 2,500 miles apart. I've been preparing for quite a while for one of the presentations, but the schedule leaves me no window in which to embrace and enjoy the opportunity.

The schedule is a glitch, the result of accepting one commitment without fully checking what other meetings were scheduled for the same period. I have a hard time walking away from something I've already said I would do, and this is no exception.

I imagine almost everyone has had an experience like that: trying to be in two places at once, or racing to do the minimum in one place so that there's just enough time to do the minimum in another place. It happens, but it does undermine other, important qualities, as Schwartz points out.

The other day, I was asked to fill out an "author profile" for a journal that is publishing a somewhat edited version of "Context first". The form included many basic questions and a few forward-looking ones. The second-to-last question asked me to name a "goal I hope to achieve five years from now."

I thought about it for a few minutes and then wrote down three ideas that I hope I can deliver on:

"To put some of my ideas to the test (in a non-consulting role), to write and publish at least one book, and to have at least one year during which I don’t work on any Saturdays, Sundays or holidays."

The last part might well be the hardest. I can't remember the last time I took a full weekend off. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I think you'll agree we're more than overdue for a change.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.