Slow the FUCK down!
September 10, 2023, Dina-Marie Weineck
A few nights ago, we were cooking at our apartment here in Tirana/Albania. It was still over 100 Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) outside. So we had the AC blasting, the oven on for bread, and two stove tops on. Oh, and I was on a Zoom call with my laptop charging.
Suddenly, the lights went out. Oven, AC, lights, call, all of it was gone. The system had been overpowered, overwhelmed, and just like that, the fuse blew out.
While I hopped on my hotspot to resume my call, Badr, my partner, went downstairs to reignite our electricity. 20 minutes later, we were cooling off, cooking again, and I had finished my conversation.
Why am I telling you this, you may ask?
Well, do you, too, have too many stove tops on all at once? Is your head in 3, 4, even 5 different projects or businesses? Are you trying to do it all, at ONCE?
While I’m pretty sure that the outage wouldn’t have happened in, say, Germany or Finland, (sorry to be blunt, Albania. You’re beautiful), I also know he message the outage sent to be true for everyone, no matter your capacity:
Pause, slow down the fuck down, before the lights go out.
We’re not built to do it all at once. We’re built to focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes, we desire to go into 5th gear to make it up the hill. That’s fine. But have you defined what the top of the hill looks like? And what you’ll do (and NOT do) when you’ve made it there?
Indulge me in another analogy.
I learnt how to drive on a gear-shift car. That was long enough ago for me to always ask for an automatic car now when I pick up a rental. My feet definitely failed at retaining any of that muscle memory. But my mind retained a few crucial lessons from driving a gear-shift car.
Lesson 1: You can’t start driving when you’re in third gear. You need to start slowly. In first gear.
For you that means, consider starting slowly. Start your morning slowly with a cup of tea or coffee on the balcony. Ease into creating content. Consider starting a conversation with a centering or grounding exercise. Build up to high-speed, don’t jump all in.
Lesson 2: Once you’re cruising, 5th gear is fine (coming from a person who just received a ticket for speeding in Spain…I have a lead-foot in the car), but eventually, you need to turn in to re-fuel. And you need to do so sooner than if you were to keep your speed steady and a little below limit.
For you that means, you can absolutely increase the flame AND go fast. For a while. And just like on any road trip, you need to PLAN ahead for breaks. Keeping steady below your energetic and capacity limit will enable you to go much farther.
Lesson 3: If you’re in downtown traffic at 5pm, 2nd, maybe 3rd gear is in order, you’ll want to check your rear-view mirrors and pick a lane carefully. Otherwise, your car goes out, just like our electricity in the apartment did. Or even worse: you crash.
For you, that means, that when shit hits the fan, when things in your business get messy, or even, when you realize you’ve double booked yourself, and you feel attacked by requests from the outside world, shift down a gear. Slow down, asses your options. Reflect. Then, indicate your move and carefully make the move.
Don’t let the lights go out, please. Take things one step at a time. Plan ahead your breaks. Re-fuel regularly.
Which lesson rang true for you the most?