Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

August 2011

Have you ever been to a psychic? I find that psychics are particularly valuable during times when I need a little hope; this summer is one of them. I’ve been going through an intense period of growth, and it hasn’t been easy. I know that when one door closes, another opens, but damn the hallways can be a bitch!

My recent trip to the psychic was just what I needed. She promised that I was on an upswing. She said that a website I launched this month is going to be successful, and that someone special—a life partner, in fact—is coming into my life. Of course, she wouldn’t give me a time frame; psychics rarely pinpoint time.

It’s to be expected that we’ll have good times and times that aren’t so good. During those “off times,” a little hope can go a long way.

This month, we’ll examine the power behind slowing down.


A New Way of Living

As I enter the third act of my life, I wonder, “Did I have it all wrong?” The basic tenets that formed the foundation of my life are crumbling. The old rules no longer apply.

When I think about how I want to live my life, I know I am ready for a change. Time has become my enemy. “There are just enough hours in the day.” 

I multitask to get more done. After all, those who multitask achieve more; they get more cookies, but there’s a growing amount of research that says those cookies are stale.

A recent Stanford University study showed that multitaskers are more distractable, and in fact worse at multitasking than those who don’t do it regularly. “Multitaskers are just lousy at everything,” one Stanford researchers said.

I am finding that when I slow down I seem to accomplish more. More importantly, I am less anxious. Perhaps I need to heed the old fable: it’s the tortoise that wins the race.

Win enough races and society will deem you successful. Society says be successful and you’ll find happiness. At 55, I’m beginning to think that society is dead wrong. Many of the most successful people I know are miserable, and looking back I was too when I was at the zenith of my career.

I know now that happiness comes with connection and contribution. At the end of my days, I’ll base my success on relationships and service, not on the money, power, and prestige I socked away.

I’m ready to relax into my life. Flow, not fight. Slow down and smell the roses. Spend time with loved ones, do the things I love to do, and find new ways to serve.

To do this will require that I reexamine my identity. I can no longer “be” what I “do.” No longer can I base my identity on society’s definition of success. I am going to have to write a definition of my own.

I have to admit it won’t be easy. I have a 55-year pattern I’ll have to break. But the stakes are too high not to try.  

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