It might be my new way of living (a la #STFD!) or it might be something in the air but unless I’m terribly mistaken, the world around me seems to have somehow sped up.
I often find myself like those people in a pop video who are standing in the centre of a crowd of people in slow motion whilst everyone around them is spinning around in super fast-forward.
Could it be that I am suffering from some kind of post-covid trauma and still getting used to everyone being back on the streets or the fact that with the interweb, 5G and the relentless scrolling of the TikTok generation that things really have sped up? I’m not sure.
All I know is that the net result of this new average high speed way of living is that everyone around me is exhausted. Totally and utterly exhausted. Friends, relatives and clients alike seem to be desperately crawling towards the Christmas break and have run out of energy just as we enter Q4 and wondering how the hell they’re gonna make it to the end of the year.
Slowing down.. Is a good thing!
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious and perhaps because it’s easy to see when you’re the objective one in the room, when people do find a way to slow down, things are generally better.
As soon as people find a way to slow down, take a breath, and have time to think, their decisions are more considered, their communication is more effective and their energy gets a chance to renew itself.
The last time I looked, we are all in the creative industry which by default lends itself well to a slower pace. It’s no surprise that we get our best ideas in the shower or just as we’re going to sleep – when we’re away from the stresses of a back-to-back diary and the panic created by a thousand unread messages across email, text, WhatsApp, Slack, Google Chat, LinkedIn, Insta and Facebook.
So much of our BrandCulture work right now is centred around creating focus and calm; helping our clients assert their boundaries and literally teaching people how to say “No!”. Many of us aren’t good at saying no… we’re either way too polite or crippled by the voices in our heads that catastophise the outcome a “no” might create. The stories we tell ourselves unconsciously mean saying no in work might mean the end of our careers, the downfall of a reputation built over 20 years on trustworthiness and good character and a social no conjures up images of a weeping party host or all of your friends having the night of their lives and meeting Beyonce in a bar. All without you. This is more popularly known as FOMO.
Evidence not thoughts and feeling
A good exercise to help you in your ability to set some boundaries is to consider whether you are saying Yes or No using factual, sensible decision-making or because you’re listening to the madness in your head (see above re catastrophising!). Are we saying yes because we factually know the outcome will be a positive one or because we are imagining slightly fantastical outcomes that we might perhaps miss out on. Are we saying yes too often based on the imagined thoughts of other people (they’ll think I’m flaky… they’ll all talk about me) or because we actually totally and utterly know that something really bad will happen if we say `’no”!
If you can find a way to listen to the facts and not the imaginary thoughts, and decide you want to say no but are struggling with the actual word… Interestingly, there are so many ways to say “no” in a lovely, inoffensive way.
“That sounds great but could we do it this way…”
“I would so love to but just can’t commit right now”
“Looks amazing. When is there another time we could make this happen?”