I went out for a great hike on Saturday up to a place called Black Mountain.
It's a good solid 2+ hours of continuous ascent and definitely feels like a pretty good workout. (I always thought my butt was just full of fat but as it turns out there are some muscles in there too. And wow, can I feel them right now.)
But despite all my huffing and puffing on the uphill climb, it's actually the coming down that's hardest for me.
The parts that seemed steep on the way up seemed vertical on the way down and when it comes to downhill hiking, I get pretty nervous. I pick my way carefully down, inch by painful inch.
Keijiro and I did the same hike a couple of weeks ago and several times I almost totally lost my footing.
The problem is that I go so slowly that my feet roll over the loose gravel on the trail. As Keijiro pointed out, and as I already knew, I'd skid a lot less if I attacked the steep sections with more speed, giving my feet less chance to slip over the gravel.
Doing the hike alone this time around, I was determined to do it better than the last time. To overcome a little of my fear of the downhill and to test out the benefits of speeding up my pace.
So when it came to the steep downhill sections of the trail, I went at them with a slight jog.
And it was SO much better.
I felt my feet start to go from underneath me only once during the entire descent.
And because I can't do anything in my life without thinking about how it relates to business, I began thinking about how this idea of speeding up making things better and safer could be applied to business as well as to my hiking technique.
Here's what I mean...
There's a lot of conversation now about slowing down, breathing more, taking more time and looking after yourself. I'm all for that. I believe it's necessary to spend time being quiet and listening. I believe it's necessary to slow down, check in and breathe. I believe self care is very, very important.
But I also think there's been a swing too far in the direction of slowing down and many of us have actually become fearful of speeding up, doing too much and breathing less.
It's almost as if speeding up and doing more has become the devil.
But a couple of months ago, when I made a decision to write a blog post 5 days a week instead of the once a week schedule I'd been sticking to for years, I saw just how much speeding up could benefit me.
Far from stressing me out or feeling like too much pressure, my experience of writing every day is that I have less time for fear, doubt and anxiety. I simply don't have the luxury of letting my thoughts run away into unhelpful places.
I've found myself more motivated, more efficient, more productive and more positive.
Speeding up requires this:
Trust that you can handle it and that you'll be supported and held as you pick up speed.
Letting go of the fear you might be holding onto of speeding up. Perhaps you've gone too fast in the past and it's caused you problems. Or perhaps, like me, you've bought into the idea of slowing down a little too wholeheartedly.
Positive side effects of speeding up might be:
A more positive mindset.
So today I just want to encourage you to raise your awareness of the speed at which you're moving in different areas of your life and to ask yourself whether there might be places where you'd actually benefit from a speeding up instead of more and more slowing down.
Because sometimes, telling yourself you need to slow down and take more time is just another excuse that keeps you stuck and prevents you from truly doing the work you're here to do.
Time to speed up? Only you'll know the right answer for you.
Love and courage,