I’m having one of those weeks where a whole load of things come together. I published the first version of my book. I finished a 365-day meditation journey. I FINALLY cleared out my backlog of flashcards.
But instead of feeling happy with what I’ve accomplished, I feel a bit empty and lost.
I don’t know if you’ve ever stepped off a treadmill after a long run. There’s this weird feeling like your body wants to keep moving forwards, even though there’s nowhere to go. It’s not totally dissimilar to that.
And you know what? That’s OK.
Sure, it’s uncomfortable.
It feels like I’ve got no direction. It feels like I’m slipping behind.
But there are the two ways I’ve learned I can deal with that:
- I can scratch my itch by diving right back into being busy; or
- I can sit with the discomfort of inaction while I stop, pause and rethink.
Which one would you pick?
It seems obvious, right?
And yet, more times than I can count, I’ve gone for option one. I haven’t stepped back, let the dust settle and set back out on purpose. I’ve kept taking action. I’ve tried to sustain my momentum. And as a result, I’ve sprinted off in completely the wrong direction. I’ve run myself ragged on low value tasks instead of having the patience and courage to stop.
How many people do you know like that? How many people hit a milestone; how many people reach some income, health or relationship goal and then never stop to replan? How many people just keep doing more of the same? How many keep going through the motions because they’re too afraid or too busy to decelerate?
The answer is a lot of people. In fact, most people I know who don’t love their work, or their lives or themselves are so busy being busy; they’re so preoccupied with not slowing down that it’s been a long time since they realised that the ladders they’re climbing don’t make them happy. They’re pushing so hard on the doorway to happiness that they’ve forgotten that door opens inwards.
So here’s what I suggest…
First up, make sure you’re doing what you’re doing on purpose. Never settle for “just because” or “why not”. If you’ve lost track of why you get up in the morning, why you want what you want or why you spend time with the people you do then you’re probably inside a momentum trap.
Second, have the courage to step back. Take at least one extended break from everything and everyone in your life at least once a year just to make sure they’re still what you want. Be prepared to walk away from things you’ve put time and effort into if you realise they’ve stopped making sense.
And finally, the next time you get where you’re going, don’t just keep going because you’re afraid that you’ll lose some momentum. Don’t waste time and energy running hundreds of yards past the finish line. Do realise that slowing down ALWAYS feels strange. It’s called being human. Get used to that sense of discomfort.
Let the dust settle. Get some clarity. Set new goals that inspire you. Start again.
And until next time, have a great day, be awesome and go well.
Arthur “Slow Is Smooth; Smooth Is Fast” Worsley