Slowing Down To Speed Up

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.00.04 PMLast week Tiara International, invited me to speak at one of their Global Women’s Virtual Round Table discussions. I was flattered to be asked to join the conversation as they explored the concept that it’s important for woman to learn to slow down—in order to speed up.

The conversation is available on Blog Talk Radio.

Recovery is Essential for Great Performance

The belief that recovery time is essential for performance is a view that the world of sports has held for a long time. Coaches pay as much attention to an Athlete’s recovery schedule as to his or her training routine at the gym. Things like nutrition, sleep, and massage have as much of an impact on a player’s ability to win as their raw talent and muscle endurance.

Sport is not the only arena where this knowledge is held dear.

Backstage

In the world of the performing arts we deliberately build in time to slow down in order to speed up with pre-show rituals.

Before a show it’s mandatory that the cast arrive at the theatre on hour before curtain time. During that time we engage in a series of rituals that help us transition into our character.

First, there is the tradition of signing in on a call sheet and greeting the Stage Manager. Then there is the ritual of putting on one’s stage makeup. Then there is time set aside for a warm up, both physically and vocally. Finally, we step into our roles by stepping into our costumes.

This transition time means that when the curtain comes up – BAM – everyone is in a different reality. Both the actors and the audience are transported into the world of the play.

Business could learn a thing or two from Sport and Art.

Learning from Art

I’ve rarely seen Executives budget in time for this kind transition before a high stakes presentation or meeting.

In fact, more often than not what I see are people checking their smart phones moments before they go onstage, or begin their meeting. They somehow think that they’ll be able to be 100% focused on their presentation after they’ve just been thinking about something else.

This kind of behavior actually diminishes performance and effectiveness, not enhance it.

Learning from Sport

Furthermore, I’ve rarely seen people budget in time after a meeting to reflect on the experience either, more often than not they run off to another meeting.

In sport rest and recovery = better results for the next game.

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Tips for Slowing Down

Here are some easily implemental ways both men and women can start to slow down, in order to speed up:

  • After every important client meeting spend 15 minutes with your team reviewing what went did well and where they can improve for the next time.
  • Instead of shooting off one final email at the end of your workday, spend 10-15 minutes reflecting on how the day went. Did you achieve what you set out to do that day? If not, why not? Make a commitment to do better the next day. Write it down. Look at it the next day. And the next. And the next.
  • Stop eating lunch at your desk! Get up. Take a walk. Spend time talking to someone on your team about their life. Employee engagement doesn’t just magically happen. It needs to be nurtured with time (and good food doesn’t hurt either!)
  • Take your vacation time.
  • Create a ritual that helps you transition out of your workday and into your home life. This could be stopping at a coffee shop for your favorite latte on your way home. Or taking your dog for a walk as soon as you get home. Or sitting quietly in your favorite chair for 10 minutes before starting supper. Whatever it is, be consistent with it and let others in your family know it’s important for you to have this time to refocus your energy.
  • Take advantage of training opportunities at work. Sometimes a day away from your desk learning a new skill can put everything you are doing into high gear when you get back to work.

Sport and Art have slowing down built into their culture. I’d love to hear what people in Business are doing to recover so that they can emerge with higher performance after a rest.

In this face paced world being disciplined about slowing down is your own responsibility. No one is going to do it for you. Part of being an impactful leader is learning to set both goals AND boundaries.

So. Take a moment after reading this article to reflect on what you’ll start doing. And then, write a comment below to let others know what it is!

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