Click to tweet:
Like most of us today, I’m a total Netflix fiend.
I watch shows in the bath, while eating breakfast – sometimes on the toilet, too (sorry for that visual…)
But the term ‘Netflix + chill’ has taken on a whole new meaning for me recently.
Right now, I’m obsessed with Mad Men.
I tried it years ago, but found it too slow; today, it’s the slowness of it that I relish the most.
In an episode I watched yesterday, the philandering sex-pot that is Donald Draper said something that really struck me.
He told Conrad Hilton (as in the great-granddaddy of Paris):
“There are snakes that go months without eating, and then when they catch something, are so hungry that they suffocate when eating it.”
Now, I’ve always loved a good analogy, but the reason this one resonated so much right now is because it’s all about how to maximise success and opportunity.
What Don is basically saying is:
Take one opportunity at a time, or you’ll - quite literally - become overwhelmed by success.
Today, as I write these words, is the day that the trade paperback version of‘The Inner Fix’ comes out.
It’s exactly the same book, just smaller, cheaper (£8.99 instead of £14.99) and with a few spelling + grammar tweaks.
This time last year - when the first version of the book came out, there was a lot going on, as I mentioned in a newsletter a few weeks ago: press interviews, a book launch, endless meetings and a jam-packed schedule.
Whilst it was great in many ways, I felt absolutely exhausted – to the point that the day after the book launch I literally could not get out of bed for a day (quick – get the violins!)
But, in all seriousness, there’s something interesting to be learned here. In the words of Anne Quindlen:
“If it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”
It’s not that I wasn’t proud of what we’d created with ‘The Inner Fix,’ it’s just that I didn’t leave myself enough space and time to properly enjoy it.
My thinking was more along the lines of:
“Quick! We’ve only got one chance to launch this thing! We’ve got to seize every possible opportunity all at once! GO GO GO! RUSH RUSH RUSH!”
I was way more focused on the outer appearance of success than I was on the inner experience of it.
Conversely, when I attended my friend Jody Shield’s book launch recently, I was struck by how chilled out and serene she was.
She’d gotten support with all the organisation and logistics, aware that her most important job was to slow down, relax and take care of herself so that she could be totally present and enjoy it.
That’s a radically different approach to success than the one the world puts out there:
“Work harder! Sacrifice! Don’t settle!”
But, I’ve started to realise, for what…?
This attitude is what has many of us Londoners running around the city like headless chickens – ‘successful’, but miserable.
If you can’t slow down enough to enjoy it, is it really worth all the agro?
A great CV doesn’t necessarily make for a great life.
Because it’s not about the achievements themselves, it’s about the process you go through while working towards them.
I used to be solely focused on getting to the outcome of any achievement – an external, measurable benchmark that the world would recognise as ‘success’, whether that be getting a boyfriend, a book deal or a certain amount of money in the bank.
Witnessing Jody at her book launch has changed that; today, I’m far more invested in the process I go through to get there.
Once I identify what I’d like to achieve in any given time period, the next question I ask myself is:
How would I like to FEEL as I work towards this goal?
And most of the time, the answer is simply: RELAXED.
I want the journey to feel spacious, chilled, exciting – but in a non-intense way.
Since I’ve been focusing on coming at all my goals from this energy, a very surprising thing’s happened:
I somehow seem to be achieving much more, much faster – with what feels like considerably less effort and stress.
Just to confirm that I was on to something with this, I recently googled ‘the spiritual secret to success’ and the most common answers that came up were:
ONE THING AT A TIME.
I’ll take that as my cue to tootle off and make myself a cuppa.
Thanks Don Draper.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you personally experienced achieving more by slowing down? Or, on the other hand, are you ever able to really enjoy your success when you’re rushing around like a mad (wo)man?
I’d really love to know what insights from today’s piece most resonated – share below and I’ll respond asap :)
P.S. If you want support in getting the life you desire (and deserve), book a complimentary coaching call with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org - I’d love to get to know you :)