“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor
Rowan is someone I admire. An incredibly successful businessman, he runs 3 businesses, is on two boards, has 3 small children and he always seems to have time for people. Rowan has a lot going on but despite this, he is calm and considered and he never tells me how busy he is, ever. Rowan is what I would call an incredibly organized, in control and influential leader. He is a superb role model for me and those who he surrounds himself with because he epitomises what can be achieved with the right mindset and when you make time to think.
The pace of business and evolution today is forcing us to speed up to keep up and this includes our thinking. We’re forced to think quickly, to react, to try and cram in as much as possible in a day that effectively creates this vortex of busyness that we get stuck in. And this becomes our new way of operating – fast. But it’s often not effective.
In times of rapid change, uncertainty and volatility, the one thing we need to do, and do well, is think. We need to think slowly and unfortunately this is a casualty of being busy. As leadership pioneer Dr Jason Fox said at the Future of Leadership conference 2016, ‘busy is getting in the way of making clever happen. The capacity for slow and considered thinking is crowded out at a time when we need to be thinking differently’.
Thinking slow is something that you need to do to:
- Be strategic
- Calm the chaos
- Lead your team
- Check in on your leadership effectiveness
- Connecting with your ‘why’
- Strongly positioning your leadership brand
- Navigate activity
- Be in control
- Be relevant
- Avoid the status quo
Slow thinking is something we can all do if we choose to. It’s a matter of carving out time to breathe and slow down, not only our actions but also our minds. So many people tell me they have ‘so many things running around in their heads it’s hard to focus or hard to sleep’. And this is true for all of us. The only way to get control of all of these thoughts and plans is to slow it all down, change the perspective and allow you to think differently. The more you force yourself to think slowly, the more likely you are to make sense of things, prioritise and understand what’s really important for you to do. Rather than simply reacting and thinking at a surface level.
Rowan makes it all seem very easy and when I asked him how he does what he does, spend time with his kids and have a life as well (he’s fit and healthy) he simply says that he makes it happen. He knows his priorities and he also knows his limits. And he won’t be sucked into this fast game others are seemingly all playing!
Slow down, this is where you will achieve the biggest rewards – faster!