I am one of many who proudly form her fan club. She is the consummate professional, leader and one who proudly serves others. She remains modest and humble, while she continues to do more in a day than most people could do in a week, and at a higher level of quality. Frankly, I don't see how she does it. But I understood completely when she asked how I have slowed down after leaving higher education after 27 years to pursue life as a self-employed author, speaker and consultant.
These words flowed in my email: "At this stage of life, and with my new direction(s), the issue is not about slowing down to get more done, but changing pace to get the right things done." I don't profess to have the answers, but I am learning to ask the right questions in search of solutions. It struck me as I wrote to her that the answer--for me, anyway--is not a matter of simply slowing down but about changing pace. And the reason for changing pace is to get the right things done.
Part of my "listening to life" is "listening to living." And to hear better, I am listening to others.
I met with consultants the other day to conceptualize my new web site that will emphasize my work as speaker, consultant and author. We had a great, open, candid conversation that pushed me to consider different ways of focusing my interests and passions as a business. As I read and re-read her email, I think of the outcome of the conversation with the web consultants in which we chose a purpose and then directed our conversation, give-and-take, questioning and discerning to that purpose. Such is life.
Being busy is easy, especially when you are good at what you do and offer your abilities to others. That level of activity creates momentum. Over time, the momentum becomes inertia. As we recall from our high school physics class, inertia is hard to redirect or break. I believe the magic is to harness the inertia, not break it or stop it.
I cannot, will not, could not go from active to inactive, from serving to being served, and so on. But I can, and will and must redirect the inertia, and that is what I am learning to do. I am not trying to get more done, but get the right things done based on a better focus.
All of that brings me back to the woman's e-mail message. Focusing living, harnessing years or decades of inertia, influenced by wisdom gleaned from life...I believe that in those steps are the secrets to the transition from a professional life of service and accomplishment to living at a pace to get the right things done. The process is more akin to shifting gears and taking a different road, then going into park or neutral at an intersection where none of the options in direction can be taken. I'm glad she asked.