If you’re a seeker like me, one of the toughest things to face is feeling like your career is slowing down rather than moving forward. Success equals accomplishment, that’s what society tells us.
Slowing down is hard and no matter how much mindfulness we practice, it can feel impossible to shift that ‘doing’ mindset. Even though I had two kids in 5 years, started a clothing line, and put out a new single, something was still burning inside of me to get back to music in a bigger way.
I was writing new songs, like I always had, but despite my efforts, things were not coming together. Grants not coming through, bands not gelling, songs falling flat. It was stressful and disappointing, mostly because I couldn’t figure out where I was going wrong.
But then it hit me. Something had to change. I had to change. My process was no longer serving me.
My deepest lesson was that I needed to slow down in order to speed up.
I needed to give myself permission to take all the time I needed to get my music just right. To properly finish one project before starting the next one. And to truly enjoy the balance of work and kids.
It was scary to was admit this to myself but once I did, slowing down actually became fun.
For the first time, I allowed myself to take the deadlines off.
To “go back to the woodshed” as we say in music.
I gave permission to relearn my craft. I had deep questions about music, writing, engineering, and production that I needed to answer!
And boy did I find answers.
I ended up completely deconstructing my craft.
I studied with mentors, co-wrote with colleagues, and completely reconstructed my process. Some of my songs, I rewrote 30 times!
It was completely transformative. I learned some deep lessons through this process. Here are a few in case they resonate with you.
6 profound ways slowing down improved my productivity.
1) Clarity comes through practice.
Once I admitted that I had to start over, I began reaching out to mentors and colleagues for help.
I focused on:
The lessons I learned were many (and deserve their own blog post!). Looking back, I’m glad I had those early roadblocks because my tracks were nowhere near ready for production before. I have now learned the power of a rigorous editing process!
2) Envy is an illusion.
No matter how successful anyone else appears, we still have to find our own way and walk our own paths. The more I embodied this, the more I was able to truly celebrate others accomplishments without judging myself for staying in my own process at my own pace.
3) Confidence comes from taking the time to do something right.
Going through my deconstruction/reconstruction process gave me an intuitive sense of what I wanted. I never could have gotten this insight from reading a book or watching a video. It’s hard-won experience that gets hardwired into your brain.
I also discovered the strengths and weaknesses in my work and gave myself time to accept them wholeheartedly. I am learning to honour my strengths and get help with my weaknesses.
4) Hustling has a time and a place.
We all get caught up in the idea of success, but putting out art, music, or any product before it’s truly ready is futile and doesn’t serve our highest ideals. I love the idea of living life in seasons – creative seasons and seasons for business and promotion.
5) Slowing down builds our intuition.
When we slow down and stay present with the process, it leads us to interesting places we might have otherwise missed. Combine this with a daily practice of tuning in to your intuition, you will start to receive lots of signals and signs about how to follow your path.
The truth is, my gut was telling me to slow down all along. I just had to listen!
5) Finding your flow is fun.
I was afraid to let go and trust the process of slowing down. I was worried that the world would speed ahead without me. But now I know that that is physically impossible.
As long as I’m alive, I’m a part of the world wherever I’m at. Each of us has intrinsic worth, simply because we are alive. There’s no need to chase anything, as anything we’re seeking already lives inside of us.
6) You build a ton of momentum.
Now that I’m on the other side of this process, this new music feels unstoppable! It’s taking on a life of it’s own and that is a beautiful thing.
Ironically, focusing on my creative process IS completely aligned with my highest ideals. Making art is the best part!
What about you?
I hope this helps you, if you (like me) have a tendency to rush, chase, and get caught up in the frenzy of “accomplishing”. 🙂