Last week I hosted a conference for therapists called Slow Down School. The goal was to slow down and have clarity for their businesses. We turned off our phones, hung out on the water and went wine tasting. We also planned out our businesses. What happened was profound. We discovered three clear phases that moved us from busyness to focus: slow down turmoil, rest, and clarity.
Slow Down Turmoil
On the first day, we hiked Pyramid Point. We used felt envelopes (called Zenvelopes and invested here in Traverse City by Kristy MacDonald) to house our phones. The first day we felt like we should be doing something more. Having no agenda, sitting on the beach and not being productive was disorienting. We all had successful businesses. We also realized that more of us were first borns and hyper goal oriented.
But as we debriefed at the end of the day, we realized that we had all bought into the myth of lack of time. It’s a sense of urgency that is misplaced. It’s based on a “fear of missing out” or “a keeping up with others” mentality.
Resting in the Rest
The morning of the second day was profoundly different. Everyone seemed to have a glow. For the first time in a while, many participants were actually relaxing. Many were used to working through weekends, so the idea of taking two full days off was new. The sense of urgency and productivity was gone. We hiked Empire Bluffs and skipped rocks on the beach.
What often happens when we slow down, is we find a life past just getting things done. It also allows our brains to rest and recharge. In a world of constant notifications, child transportation, and business goals, we sometimes lose the deeper meaning of life.
Clarity and Focus
The next three days were spent building businesses. But it had a different tone than if we had just started on day one. Instead, business owners asked:
- “How can I build my business, but not at the expense of my family or health?”
- “How can I scale the business and also create a lifestyle i want?”
- “What is the most effective use of my time and what do I need to edit?”
Instead of having a feeling that there is not enough time, participants saw that there is always enough time.
Why We Need Rest
What happens when we genuinely rest is that our brain is able to see pitfalls. Our decisions are clearer and we make fewer mistakes. Brain research shows that we actually get more done and are more productive, when we take care of our health and socialize with others.
Yet as a society, we socialize through social media and rest by watching Netflix. Genuine rest that is restorative, usually involves getting away from technology, moving our bodies, and spending time with those who are most important to us.
When we slow down, there is a natural turmoil that occurs, but then we begin to rest in the rest, and lastly we gain clarity and focus.
Joseph R. Sanok is a licensed counselor and owner at Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City. He is the founder of Slow Down School, an annual conference for business owners to slow down to spark innovation, www.SlowDownSchool.com