Harnessing the power of slowing down, being still

I commented earlier this week on my Intentional Networker™ fan page about how much I’ve been thinking about the value of stillness. And by stillness, I mean slowing down the pace; setting intentions, and then allowing time to get quiet, reflect, and think.  It’s not about stopping everything, checking out completely, or giving up. It’s about doing “the work” then becoming open and receptive to ideas, aha moments, experiences, and even exchanges and connections.

Case in point: I was at the NSA convention in Indianapolis last week.  (If you’ve ever attended events like this one, you know how wonderfully intense they can be.) There were moments when, as a semi-introvert, I grew tired and overwhelmed.  All I wanted to do was grab a cup of coffee, sit in one of the cushy lounge areas in the main hallway, be still, and people-watch.  So that’s what I did.

I’d set some intentions prior to the conference on what I wanted to learn and experience and who I wanted to see, reconnect with, and meet.  So I felt good about what could happen if I just let go and took a break.

Wouldn’t you know?  The people I’d wanted to meet and see began showing up. They literally came to me.  Often within minutes of me sitting down. Furthermore, they often sat down with me, stayed awhile, and we enjoyed some relaxed, yet very valuable conversations.  I even met one gentleman by accident when I thought he was someone else and greeted him with the wrong name.  (“Hello Dan! Oh wait… you’re not Dan…”) Turns out Dennis (who I swore was Dan) is a really great guy doing some amazing work. I’m so glad we met and got to know each other. Even my embarrassing social faux pas were working out!

Had I been flitting around, dashing all over the conference center, wearing myself out, blistering my feet, forcing connections, I may not have had the same luck.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever stopped trying so darn hard and suddenly things began to work out — and for the better?  I’m fascinated with the concept of setting intentions, doing the initial legwork, then putting yourself in the right spot and having the courage and confidence to slow down, be still, and await what happens.

I’d love to hear your stories on this.
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13 Responses to Harnessing the power of slowing down, being still
  1. Marketing Speaker David Newman
    July 26, 2012 | 11:20 am

    Paula – I mean Peg – I mean Patti (smile):

    Great post and great observations.

    I was just telling a client of mine who is working on a book that book sales are a marathon and not a sprint. I advised her not to focus on becoming one of those “amazon bestsellers” that are a flash in the pan and then immediately bottom out after the initial sales blitz.

    She assured me that truly was NOT focused on becoming a bestseller. And then she quietly added, “so it may just happen on its own.”

    I burst out laughing at her wise observation. Sometimes we DO get the things we are NOT hyper-focused on precisely because we let stillness and the universe take care of the outcome as long as we DO the work!!!

    — David

    • pattid
      July 26, 2012 | 11:52 am

      I get the joke, Dale…errr I mean David. Thanks for this insightful contribution. Networking, too, is a marathon (with water and nap breaks), not a sprint!

  2. Marketing Speaker David Newman
    July 26, 2012 | 11:20 am

    Paula – I mean Peg – I mean Patti (smile):

    Great post and great observations.

    I was just telling a client of mine who is working on a book that book sales are a marathon and not a sprint. I advised her not to focus on becoming one of those “amazon bestsellers” that are a flash in the pan and then immediately bottom out after the initial sales blitz.

    She assured me that she truly was NOT focused on becoming a bestseller. And then she quietly added, “so it may just happen on its own.”

    I burst out laughing at her wise observation. Sometimes we DO get the things we are NOT hyper-focused on precisely because we let stillness and the universe take care of the outcome as long as we DO the work!!!

    — David

  3. Women Are Gamechangers
    July 26, 2012 | 12:32 pm

    I have never tried that before. But I am exhausted after a conference because I am running around talking and meeting new people. I will try this. Better to meet quality over quantity people anyway.

    • pattid
      July 26, 2012 | 1:25 pm

      Yep, those events can really do a number on us if we are “working it” too hard or trying to be someone we’re not. If you take a moment to just sit somewhere and observe, you’ll see that the really powerful people, the true connectors aren’t rushing around, handing out business cards. They are strolling (with purpose, but never rushing) or sitting off to the side having coffee and conversation with someone. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Todd Schnick
    July 26, 2012 | 5:53 pm

    everything is better when you slow down… and take very slow, intentional steps….

    • pattid
      July 26, 2012 | 8:38 pm

      …and dare to be intrepid! Thanks, Todd!

  5. Erik Lehmann
    July 26, 2012 | 6:16 pm

    Hello Patti,

    I am glad to have been one of the people who found you in your stillness. This is a great way to live. As a recovering business card hound, I can attest that stillness feels better and yields a better, more genuine result. Staying in any given moment and really connecting with people, expands the possibility for all involved. Regardless of where technology takes us, we are beings of connection, and that is one of our main drives as humans. Whether, they walk to you or you walk to them, the most we can bring to any interaction is our fully present self. That said, my recommendation is for us to do whatever it is that keeps us the most present. For me, finding stillness and meditating everyday is all it takes to let the universe know what to send my way. I have been amazed by what has come my way from a place of stillness and intention! Thank you Patti! You are a blessing to me, and I am grateful that the universe sent us to be in each other’s worlds!

    • pattid
      July 26, 2012 | 8:37 pm

      Erik, you defininitely were one of the people who appeared at just the right time while I was taking a moment to relax and be present! I am always amazed at how it works. Never gets old!

  6. Mike O'Krent
    July 27, 2012 | 8:51 am

    Great insight, Patti. I’ve learned so much from your book, newsletters and other posts. This one reminds me of something I teach in the listening skills workshops I conduct.

    When most people think of listening, they only think of listening to other people. Most of us forget to be still and listen to the voice inside our heads. More and more people are setting intentions for a period of time, but many do not truly listen to themselves to realize when the intention is being fulfilled.

    This article shows that you were wise enough to know, not only that you needed some quiet time, but you were open to listening to your own voice to notice when the intention was fulfilled. Thanks for sharing this story!

    • pattid
      July 27, 2012 | 9:37 am

      Mike, thank you for this. Coming from you, the ultimate interviewer / listener, this is both high praise and terrific advice.

  7. Amy Campbell
    July 27, 2012 | 2:08 pm

    Brilliant, Patti! Something I am slowly, but surely getting better at by practice, practice, practice! Thank you for sharing with us!

    • pattid
      July 27, 2012 | 2:54 pm

      Me too, Amy! And you’re most welcome.

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