Note from Vikki Pryor: Starting 2016 off on the right foot has been on my mind. We can never have too many new ideas to do just that. I am fortunate to have wonderful networks, co-workers, friends, colleagues, and teachers over the years. With permission, shared below are the thoughts of Constance Armstrong, Executive Director, The Boston Club, and fellow member Fredia Woolf, Principal, Woolf Consulting. For more, visit Fredia’s website.
There are a lot of wise women in The Boston Club. I am continually learning from experiences shared, counsel freely offered, insights provided, by so many of our members. And, in the midst of the holiday/year-end madness we call life (you may be reading this in February, if your email inbox looks like mine!), I want to pass along something that may be the very best gift I’ve received this year.
Last week, Fredia Woolf and I were talking about trying to clear our desks before year end. Fredia, one of our wisest women, told me about the year-end message she would be sending her clients, and generously agreed that I could share it here with you.
Fredia thinks that many of us could benefit if we would just SLOW down, and, yes, it’s an acronym–but one you can truly use. To Fredia, going SLOW means:
Stop and savor something for a few minutes each day. Tune into your senses. Notice your body. And appreciate a tiny vacation – or microbursts of mindfulness – in the middle of your day. The big challenge is that you have to ditch the mindset of urgency and speed. (For me, its stopping when I drive past the ocean, pulling over if only for a moment, to watch the view that always calms me down.)
Let things flow; let things go. Some things – as well as skills, beliefs, ideas – are held onto for just too long and need to be cleared out. And others benefit from being allowed to evolve organically, or to collide with serendipity. Over-thinking can be counter-productive. The big challenge is that you have to ditch the mindset of control. (OK, intellectually, I know its true, but this is going to take a LOT of work!)
Open your eyes, mind & heart. As we gain experience, we also get more fixed and closed in our thinking. We believe we know, so why be open to learning? We have formed our opinions, so aren’t curious about others. We have developed a thick protective carapace, so won’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable, but opening up to the new brings freshness and expansion. The big challenge is that you have to ditch the mindset of exclusion and mistrust. (My father-in-law reads George Will as well as Frank Rich; he says, even liberals are wrong sometimes.)
Weave your past, present and future into an integrated whole. Take the time to remember who you once were, what you once loved, what your lost talents might be, and bring them to light in the present. This will help you create a richer future, in which you feel alignment and purpose. The big challenge is that you have to ditch the mindset of fear. (You have all helped me with this. I resisted writing Comments for a long time, but your feedback has reminded me how much I enjoy writing, and convinced me to keep going.)
Fredia and I also discussed that one’s stage of life–whether you are starting out, gearing up, winding down, raising kids, planning the “third half”–always affects how you look at and use time, but I think SLOW fits any stage. Mindfulness, even in small doses, can sharpen your decision making, lift your spirits, energize your day, and open you to opportunities of all kinds. We all have choices.
My New Year’s wish for each of you is the choice to Go SLOW! See you in 2016!