EP 360: Slowing Down To Make Sustainable Choices

Oct 26, 2021 | Mindset & Identity, Operations, Podcast, Productivity, Time Management

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st-century economy with your humanity intact. Click here to support this work.

I am a fast person.

I walk fast. Cook fast. Write fast. Talk fast. Work out fast. It’s like I’m always moving towards some urgent need or trying to escape some impending disaster. So I’ve been working on slowing down for the last few years.

To do that, I have to be mindful. I have to be present enough to notice that I’m zooming around and get curious about why. Then, I can take a beat and slow down the tempo.

I say that like it’s easy, or like I even remember to do it on a regular basis. I don’t.

I find it hard to look around at the world—the news, the market, my family, my community—and not feel the pressure of urgency.

Things change so fast today, yes. But the problems we face and the opportunities in front of us are also urgent.

It’s not just the speed with which things happen. It’s the fleeting window of possibility we have to make changes or seize the moment.

In her book Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown writes:

“There is such urgency in the multitude of crises we face, it can make it hard to remember that in fact it is urgency thinking (urgent constant unsustainable growth) that got us to this point, and that our potential success lies in doing deep, slow, intentional work.”

Maybe we could call it strategic FOMO. The fear of missing out on the chance to change course, solve a challenge, make things better.

Of course, good strategy is never created quickly. Changing course, solving challenges, making things substantively better is slow work.

Otherwise, it’s not strategy—it’s just another crappy repair on top of a history of band-aid solutions.

Slowing down is key to building a business that operationalizes and embodies its values.

When you slow down, you can ask yourself better questions, gather diverse perspectives, get curious what’s really needed, and take time for quality.

And that’s really why I’ve been working on slowing down. I’ve become acutely aware of the friction and dysfunction that making a fast decision causes. I can easily see how speed has made it harder to make sustainable, humane choices.

I’ve also become aware at just how lovely it can feel to pause and check in. To say, “let’s revisit that next week.” To luxuriate in exploring how things could be done in ways that epitomize my values and honor my capacity.

Today, you’re going to hear from 4 other business owners who have also found that slowing down has helped them operationalize their values in their businesses.

You’ll hear from Sarah Cottrell, the founder of Former Lawyer, Gracy Obuchowicz, a self-care consultant for companies & organizations, Yvette Ramos-Volz, a glass artist & aromatherapist, and Jennie Morris, the founder of Vegologie.

Each one is finding ways to create the necessary space to check in with their core values before making decisions about their business—big or small. By slowing down, they make their values a core operational consideration, instead of merely good copy on a website.

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