20/02/2018 | 25:33
Episode 84: Slow Down to Speed Up: How to Bring More Grace & Ease to Your Business
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“Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.”
– Billy Joel
In the second episode of our productivity month, we’re bringing you some pretty fun topics, as well as useful and valuable information around productivity. Last week we shared 3 Creative Habits to Increase Your Focus. What we’ve found in working with our own clients, and with ourselves, is that everybody wants to be more productive. We want to get more done, and constantly look outside of ourselves for how to do more, do better, go faster. Today, Brad and I want to take a completely fresh perspective – how to slow down to speed up and bring more grace and ease to your business.
The Harvard Business Review did a study of 343 businesses and said that the companies who embraced initiatives and chose to just keep going, going, going in order to gain a competitive edge, actually made less money. They have lower profits, and they were exhausted and wiped out at the end.
But the firms that slowed down to speed up improved their top, and their bottom line averaging 40% higher sales, and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period. How did they do that? What is the actual physics of slowing down to speed up?
Keys to Slowing Down to Speed Up: Find alignment. Make sure that your entire team is completely aligned with the project that you’re working on.
Choose one project to focus on. We’ve been talking a lot about on this productivity trek about why we’re using quarterly projects. It brings focus to the projects.
Harvard Business Review found that companies who slowed down intentionally brought more spaciousness and encouraged more innovative thinking. People were more creative because they were allowed time to reflect and learn, they fixed things that might have been put out there too fast, and caused a lot of havoc in the marketplace. They took the time to test their message. They fostered better employee collaboration.
I hear so many creatives, myself included, laughingly talking about our bright shiny idea syndrome. I love my bright shiny ideas, but I’ve learned that they don’t all need my attention at once. So by making very specific choices about what projects are going to get the best of me right now, I set the other ones aside. There’s something very different for us this year that feels very enriching. I think there has been more spaciousness in our schedule. Are we still doing as much work? I think so. But it’s really focused work, right? It feels really good to be diving deep, and to be paying careful attention to where we’re putting our effort, and our focus.
For more deep dives into bringing grace and ease into your business, listen to the full podcast below.
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Transcript Show Transcript (4,493 More Words)
Brad Dobson: Welcome to The Path to Profit Podcast with your host, Dr. Minette Riordan and Brad Dobson.
Hey everyone, live coming from Minette being stuck in the 80’s.
Minette Riordan: Are you ready? Do you like it like that? I don’t even remember what the song is, or who the singer was, but you probably do.
Brad Dobson: I don’t.
Minette Riordan: You don’t? Wow. In case you don’t know, Brad loves music, and he has a deep knowledge about all different kinds of music. Why are we talking about music? Hi, I’m Minette, this is Brad, we are the Path to Profit Podcast, and this is episode 84. I think it’s our second episode of our productivity month where we’re bringing you some pretty fun topics, and some pretty, I think, useful and valuable information around productivity because what we have found in working with our own clients, and with ourselves maybe even more importantly is everybody wants to be more productive, and wants to get more done, and they’re constantly looking outside of themselves for how to do more, do better, go faster. We actually want to take a completely fresh perspective today, and talk about how to slow down to speed up, and bring more grace and ease to your business. I think we mentioned this on our last podcast perhaps that more grace and ease.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, definitely. We are tapping the brakes on a lot of things, and just taking a breathe, and trying to get into that mode of doing some more quality practiced work. We’re going to talk about that quite a bit today.
I think we’d like to start with … I don’t think we’d like to start, we are going to start with a quote from one of my favorites, Billy Joel, which is, “Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.” I don’t know what song that’s from either.
Minette Riordan: I don’t know what that song that’s from either, but I thought the quote was pretty appropriate when I was doing my research this morning. So what does slow down to speed up mean?
Brad Dobson: Slow down to speed up. Well, you’ve got a whole bunch of stuff that … down here on the page that we’re going to talk about.
Minette Riordan: I do. But I want to hear what you think, and then I can dive into some of the research that I found.
Brad Dobson: You know, always at a unconscious level when I think about slowing down, I think about taking a breath, physically taking a breath, and also mentally taking a breath, and that just means clearing the mind and coming back to the breath from meditation, or a zen perspective, but that slowing down brings focus back where we might be in a mode of we’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Minette Riordan: Who me? You’re looking at me.
Brad Dobson: And, we’re trying to think about three different things at once, and we’re not. And, we have 25 browser tabs open, yes that’s me.
Minette Riordan: No, that’s not me. That’s annoying.
Brad Dobson: Then it’s time to really slow down. I think we need to, as we talk about this, we need to integrate the grace and the ease part with the slowing down part, I think. Then we get to the speeding up part.
Minette Riordan: Yeah. Well, I think it’s kind of fascinating. I did some research on the topic because we came up with the topic, and we had a sense of what that means to us. But I was curious in the context of building a business, how is this being discussed. It actually … there is actually a book out there called Slow Down to Speed Up, that is a business building book. But the Harvard Business Review did a study of 343 businesses, and said that the companies that embraced initiatives, and chose to just keep going, going, going in order to gain a competitive edge, they actually made less money. They have lower profits, and they were exhausted and wiped out at the end.
But the firms that slowed down to speed up, improved their top, and their bottom line averaging 40% higher sales, and 52% higher operating profits over a three year period. How did they do that? What is the actual physics of slowing down to speed up? So it’s a couple of different things? One of those things was finding alignment, making sure that your entire team is completely aligned with the project that you’re working on. That was one piece.
The other piece was picking one project to focus on, which we’ve been talking a lot about on this trek this month through productivity about why we’re using quarterly projects, why people are talking about 90-Day experience, or the 90-Day year, or the 12-Week plan, because it brings focus to the projects. Brad and I personally, as Brad mentioned already letting go of projects that don’t matter. But I think the most important thing was getting everyone on the same page about what the most important focus is in the moment, even if you’re a team of one, you can do this. Even if you’re a team of one, you can narrow your focus to the one most important project.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. The image of a canoe, or a row boat with multiple paddlers comes to mind. You’d really do need everybody paddling in the same direction.
Minette Riordan: In the same direction. Yes. Looking at those big war canoes.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, same deal though.
Minette Riordan: Yeah.
Brad Dobson: You just can’t … you can’t have people out of sync with stuff. But I’ve been … It’s interesting because I’ve been in … I spend a long time in Software in a large company, largish, medium. It seemed like there were always heavy deadlines, and pressure, and all of these things. I think I could tell at a visceral level that it just didn’t work for me in terms of it wasn’t the best way to create. It was really just, “What do I have to do next? What do I have to do next? What do I have to do next?” It was never, “Sit down, get better at something, do a great job at something.” It was, “Do your best in the allotted time.” That’s really not that effective for where …
Minette Riordan: It’s the opposite of our personal goal this year, which is on the one hand grace and ease, and on the other hand is mastery. Right? So the other thing that the Harvard Business Review found was that companies that slowed down, that they intentionally brought more spaciousness, encouraged more innovative thinking. People were more creative because they were allowed time to reflect and learn, they fix things that might have been put out there too fast, and caused a lot of havoc in the marketplace. They took the time to test their message. They fostered better employee collaboration.
So you might be wondering as a creative what on earth does a Harvard Business Review of big companies have to do with us personally. But we found ourselves falling into this trap of, “I got to buy that course. I got to learn that skill. I got to master this talent. I got to buy, buy, buy, buy more education, more learning so I can go faster and make this all happen faster.” I got really personally caught up in that …
Brad Dobson: Yeah, definitely.
Minette Riordan: … over the last couple of years. I’m more comfortable working fast than Brad is, but Brad brings the thoughtfulness, and the question asking that we need in order to get things right. So I think between the two of us, we have found that, that alignment around what project matters most right now has helped to steer our work in some pretty, pretty magical ways.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. Yeah, and I don’t think that if you don’t enter that mode of slowing down, and adding grace and ease, it’s a lot harder to find a flow state for your creativity, or any work that you’re doing in your business. Really that’s what we’re looking for is we’re looking for that flow state. At the beginning, maybe this is like practicing piano or it’s like wind sprints, or whatever it is. You’re going to be slow at the start.
Minette Riordan: Painting that thing, Buddha.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, right. You’re going to be slow at the start. You’re not a master, but the practice that you do has to be effective practice. The way to do that at the beginning is to slow down. Then as you practice more, you speed up because you get better at it. You don’t speed up because you’re putting more pressure on yourself.
Minette Riordan: It’s so true, and the other … I loved what Brad said about taking a deep breath, and pausing right now in the moment. It’s funny you guys have heard us a lot on this podcast talk about how much we admire Ryan Deiss.
Brad Dobson: At Digital Marketer.
Minette Riordan: … at digitalmarketer.com. He had a great article this week about something very similar, about looking at your projects, and picking even just one aspect of a project to slow down, and focus on improving. One of our core value is like as a company, and I think as individuals as well as continuous improvement, “Always be learning.” But that can be a detriment as well as a gift, because if I’m always focused on learn more, get better, go faster, I’m not pausing to say where can I just improve what I already have in place?
Brad Dobson: Yeah. It’s awfully difficult to reach mastery when you’re just on to learning the next thing, which is especially true maybe for a learning junkie like Minette.
Minette Riordan: Yes, I am such a learning junkie. It’s totally true. You know, and then there is a whole another aspect of slowing down to speed up that I think is really important, and maybe something we’re not always the best at, or we’re getting better as we get older, and our kids get older, I think this helps a lot as well, and that’s resting, and taking planned scheduled breaks. Whether that’s a walk at lunch time, or two weeks in Hawaii, there are lots of studies that have been done, but I think our own noticing has been that creativity actually stops when we’re full.
If we’re so caught up in the details, and the minutia of just getting everything going faster, we can’t problem solve, we can’t think critically, or creatively. We fail to innovate. We fail to see, “Well, actually this is great, but just needs some improvement over here in order to make it do what we want it to.” So planned breaks, and rest is really important.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. You know the word that comes to mind is spaciousness.
Minette Riordan: Yeah.
Brad Dobson: Maybe we should add that to our focus of grace and ease. Maybe it should be grace, and ease, and spaciousness.
Minette Riordan: Well, I think you get grace and ease when you allow for spaciousness.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: When you have planned spaciousness.
Brad Dobson: Right, and we’re both guilty of failing on that matter.
Minette Riordan: Workaholics.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, definitely.
Minette Riordan: Total workaholics.
Brad Dobson: You know, just sit down and get after it, and I think this came up in a recent break that we had where it took me probably five … It normally takes me five to seven days just to wind down if I’m not working. But I came back so refreshed after that. I realized that I just need that more rather than less. I know as entrepreneurs if you’re of the Gary Vaynerchuk mold, maybe you’re getting after it 24/7, and that works for some people maybe in their 20’s and early 30’s. But as folks around 50, that’s not really that effective.
Minette Riordan: I think in our 20’s we worked hard, but we played hard also, right?
Brad Dobson: Yeah.
Minette Riordan: We’ve lost the play hard mentality. I even, I found with … I mentioned on the last podcast about this Buddha painting that I’ve been struggling with.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: I had a breakthrough this morning about how I’ve been approaching this. Normally I’m someone who loves the journey as much as the destination. I got really caught up in making it perfect, in having it look right, and I forgot about how much I love the journey. I’ve never had a painting keep me awake at night, or I’d wake up thinking about what I wanted to do differently. You’re laughing at me. I know, but it’s he’s watched me struggle with this painting. I got into that, “I just want to get it done so I can move into the next painting.” What this painting needed was more layers, more time.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: More stepping away, and pausing for a moment. I’m pretty happy with where he’s going, and I don’t care if anybody else likes it, I also let go of caring what anybody else thinks about it, and having fun with it, and remembering that as I do with lots of my painting, at the end of the day I’m probably just going to paint over them anyway, right?
Brad Dobson: Yeah, right.
Minette Riordan: So not getting caught up and so attached to the canvas was a big part of that.
Brad Dobson: Interestingly this Buddha is now a woman from as far as I can tell, but that’s cool too.
Minette Riordan: Is it a woman because it looks feminine to you?
Brad Dobson: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Minette Riordan: The face looks feminine, so maybe it’s not a Buddha, it’s just something else. Who knows?
Brad Dobson: No, we said the Buddha couldn’t be female.
Minette Riordan: This is true. So the whole concept of slowing down to speed up, there is this great conversation on a blog post, and we’ll put links to some of our research in the show notes as well by a woman named [inaudible 00:13:41] Godfrey who talked about slow marketing, and how it has a branding issue because nobody wants to talk about slow marketing, but how slowing down actually came out of the slow food movement in the late 80’s.
So 30 years ago, people were talking about the slow food movement, and look how long it took it to gain more visibility in the market place. But this whole concept of … She defines slow from somebody named Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food Movement. Here’s the definition of slow, “Being slow means that you control the rhythms of your own life. You decide how fast you have to go in any context. If today I want to go fast, I go fast. If tomorrow I want to go slow, I go slow. What we are fighting for is the right to determine our own tempos.”
Brad Dobson: Yeah. I like that. I think I would add to it. I mean, we’re fighting … in my mind I’m fighting to do good work.
Minette Riordan: At your own pace.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Minette Riordan: Right?
Brad Dobson: Yeah, definitely.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, so I … that tempo piece, it’s funny, cadence, rhythm, tempo, are themes that have been coming up over, and over in our own business planning, and conversations around productivity personally.
But I love that whole reminder. I remember one of my mentors saying this one time about how he works. It’s sprint, rest, sprint, rest. He’s standing up on stage hilariously like leaping around the stage going, “Sprint, rest. Sprint, rest.” I always come back to that idea of sprint, rest, sprint, rest.
Brad Dobson: That’s the way kids run.
Minette Riordan: That’s the way kids run. Actually it’s the way kids live, right?
Brad Dobson: Yeah.
Minette Riordan: Sprint, rest. Sprint, rest. It’s human nature I think to sprint, rest. But we’ve gotten so caught up in our age of modernism where speed is the only thing that matters. The fastest, the best, the biggest, the richest, the what … you know.
Brad Dobson: In the grind or anything.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, and it has become a grind. So this whole concepts of slow down to speed up is one that we’re really sitting with personally. So how would you say that you’re personally implementing this, this year?
Brad Dobson: I’m working on focus personally. This has been a struggle for me for quite some time. Working on focus blocks where I can do a better job of whatever it is I’m working on. A big part of this for me is having a plan in place, an effective plan in place that doesn’t overburden us. We have a tendency to over … I know we’ve talked about this before.
Minette Riordan: Too many promotions.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, where we just … or we schedule our promotion immediately after one completes, or that type of thing. That’s not effective. It doesn’t give us time to catch up with our editorial, or …
Minette Riordan: Catch up? It doesn’t give us time to get ahead.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, exactly.
Minette Riordan: We’re always feeling that under the gun.
Brad Dobson: I think we’re doing better by, or I’m doing better by delegating some more stuff. So building a process to hand off to our virtual assistant that allows me to take on different work. But I think the main thing is that I’m just trying to practice getting a job done well, and thinking about that as I’m working on whatever the task is.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, it’s so true. It’s so funny. So one of the processes that I use with my clients is called soul collage. I actually have a picture of one of my soul collage cards that I made that has a guy with a gun to his head. It’s not a pretty card, and it’s so often how we can make ourselves feel, because what I want you to remember as a creative entrepreneur, and what I’m constantly reminding myself every single day is that in each, and every moment, we have a choice. We have a choice for the project that we focus on. We have a choice to how we’re spending our time.
I hear so many creatives, myself included constantly laughingly talking about our bright shiny idea syndrome. I love my bright shiny ideas, but I’ve learned that they don’t all need my attention at once. So making very specific choices about what projects are going to get the best of me right now, and the other ones just get set aside. There’s something that feels very different for us this year that feels very enriching. I think there has been more spaciousness in our schedule. Are we still doing as much work? I think so. But it’s really focused work, right? It feels really good to be diving deep, and to be paying careful attention to where we’re putting our effort, and our focus.
Brad Dobson: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, this podcast is an example where we’ve said, “Okay, we need to up our game.” Upping our game in our case meant actually doing focused work on each part of the podcast process. Now you’re not doing … maybe you’re not doing a podcast. But maybe you’re rewriting a speech, or maybe you’re rewriting a talk for networking.
Minette Riordan: Or want to get more traffic to your blog.
Brad Dobson: Right. It means that you put aside a bunch of other things that you were … that you thought you needed to do. If you’re going to do the writing, or write a blog post, or whatever it is, that you just focus on that, and you do your best on it. So you can walk away from it, and actually feel like it’s done. That’s a really key point, I think, is that you’ve taken the time to complete something. Maybe it took you extra time, and maybe it meant that some things that should have gotten done didn’t get done, but the world didn’t end, and you actually completed something. I think I was definitely running into that over the last couple of years where I did a quick job of a whole bunch of things, and they never really got finished.
Minette Riordan: And, because they didn’t get finished, they didn’t function, they didn’t make us money, they didn’t improve our marketing. Then not to blame Brad at all, but it … and it was often Brad and I going, “But wait, wait, wait, we got to go over here or there because there is many over here, or everybody says that we need to be doing this. Let’s go try that.” So we never took the time to put the work in to build the foundations in particular for some of the digital marketing.
There is parts of our business that work really well, and run really flawlessly, and we love. Then there’s parts of our business where we have been just skidding the surface, and not really looking at how can we just continue to make this one piece better. So yeah, podcast, and Facebook are the two places that we’re doing some more deep, specific work.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. I guess we have a few things like that where we need to ask ourselves, is it really important to just be giving this cursory or light treatment in our business? As opposed to not doing it at all. I mean, we post to LinkedIn, but we don’t really do any work specifically with LinkedIn, we don’t monitor it.
Minette Riordan: Or Twitter.
Brad Dobson: Why are we there if we’re not going to do a great job of it, if we’re not going to slow down, think about it, give it like I said, a deep treatment. What’s the point? It’s time spent, or wait, time wasted.
Minette Riordan: It creates those open loops where, “Oh my gosh, I should be doing more on Twitter. I should be doing more on LinkedIn. I should, I should, I should, I should.” We can should ourselves to death. So it’s just that noticing. I had a, sorry I totally lost my thought there for a moment. One of the things that we asked ourselves about where we wanted to put our intention and attention, and effort, and money, and focus, and everything this year is what’s fun for us? Right? It was one of the playful things that we ask. We actually let go of some of the blogging that we were doing because we weren’t approaching it from a place of joy, and fun. We were just getting it done. So we let go of some of the blogging. We said the podcast is one of the things that’s really fun for us.
Brad Dobson: You know what’s interesting about that? Is, yeah, we let go of some things that weren’t enjoyable. But as it turns out for me, one of the things that’s really fun, is getting good at something, and doing a complete job, right? That might just be doing the dishes.
Minette Riordan: Yeah.
Brad Dobson: But actually doing a great job of it is the fun part because there is a sense of completion, of wholeness, and just having done something in my life with grace and ease and spaciousness.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, yeah. Like for me this morning, that was cleaning the kitchen, putting the turkey on to make a pot of soup, and the house will smell really good all day. Turkey curry for dinner tonight.
Brad Dobson: Yum.
Minette Riordan: It’s, we could have this whole same conversation from a Buddhist, and mindfulness perspective of just bringing more mindfulness to everything that we do. But it is also about piecing, and learning to piece yourself in a way that feels fully aligned, and in a way that allows for more deep work, and more mastery.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. Yeah, so if you’re listening or watching us on YouTube, I hope that you can take away, on the next task that you’re going to do in the next five minutes or in the next hour, just sit there for a minute before you start putting pen to paper, or hands to the keyboard, and think about what it would mean to slow down, and do a fantastic job of what you want to do. Maybe the first time, or the first hundred times you won’t do that, but I think it’s a great way to view the work that you do.
Minette Riordan: Totally. Absolutely. One of the best ways we know to support people in slowing down to speed up, is by managing your to-do list, and your time. It’s a choice, again, to decide how much you can actually get accomplished everyday. So we have an amazing planner we created called the Artful Profit Planner. It’s beautiful it has brand new editions. It’s the 30-Day Artful Profit Planner is totally free. You can go to artfulprofitplanner.com, download your free copy, and a video training from me personally walking you why we set it up this way.
This is not an agenda. This is not a, “I need to get to this meeting by when. This does not replace a calendar or a scheduler. This is about focusing in on the particular tasks each day that will help you make money, or get better at marketing, and create massive momentum in your business. It teaches you how to chunk those big ideas and projects down into tiny bite sized steps so that you’re taking small steps every day. We call it our daily big six, when you have no more than six things on your to-do list, and you commit to doing them before you go to bed. I promise that you will see incredible results.
Again, it was a passion project of mine to create this. Our son had a big pay-end in designing.
Brad Dobson: And, you get to color it.
Minette Riordan: It’s full of mandalas, affirmations, celebrations, and gratitudes. It’s a whole process that I promise will bring more joy, intention, and focus to your business. So I invite you to go and check that out. On our very next episode …
Brad Dobson: That artfulprofitplanner.com. We’ll have that link in the show notes.
Minette Riordan: Awesome, artfulprofitplanner.com. How many times when we say it and really annoy people? Artfulprofitplanner.com. It’s a little bit of a mouthful. All spelled out, artfulprofitplanner.com.
But on our next episode, we’re going to continue our conversations around productivity, and bring a completely different perspective that would also contribute to slowing down and speeding up, which is all about how to get more leverage in your business. From my perspective, leverage is the creative entrepreneur’s best productivity hack.
Brad Dobson: Cool.
Minette Riordan: That’s what we’re going to be talking about.
Brad Dobson: Well, see you then.
Minette Riordan: All right, have a good one.
Brad Dobson: Thanks for listening.
You can also view this call’s video recording on our Youtube channel.
The post Episode 84: Slow Down to Speed Up: How to Bring More Grace & Ease to Your Business appeared first on Path to Profit Academy.
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