Should you stop? Or should you go?

I was lounging on my back deck this morning in my pajamas with a cup of delicious coffee when I read a blog by my friend and fellow writer Todd Schnick.  Todd is owner of Intrepid LLC,  as well as an excellent writer and keen observer of life, marketing, and the business world. I often wonder if he has a brainwave monitoring chip planted in my head. Seems like he frequently has some of the same random (but critical) business questions rolling around in his head that I have in mine. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

In any case, as I read Todd’s post, which he wrote while waiting out a tedious flight delay, I thought: “Hey! Great use of otherwise “dead” time, Todd! You captured a platinum nugget of inspiration from the potentially sucky situation you were stuck in. And you did it while enjoying a beer. I love that!”

I also thoughtfully considered Todd’s key point:  The world is moving. Get in the game and play!  Quit farting around, wasting time, stalling, etc. or it will be too late. You will fall behind and lose your Golden Moment of Opportunity, whatever it is. You. Will. Fall. Behind.

Awesome.

And then… I thought of why Todd’s post might be over simplifying things, even just a bit.

Bahnübergang

At this point, it’s important for you to know that I was born and raised in the Midwest where being productive is not only recommended, it’s practically a requirement. I vividly remember blurting out the phrase “I’m bored” ONE TIME in front of my mother when I was at the cheeky age of 12. Her response to my glib little pre-teen wisecrack was to give me the longest, most incredibly heinous chore list ever devised by any human ever. It included really fun activities like picking all the moss out from between several hundred patio stones (with an old dull butter knife), raking leaves, washing windows, pulling weeds,  painting the porch, hauling wood, digging up rocks from the garden, etc. I don’t think she made me scrub garbage cans, but I knew she’d get to that eventually if I didn’t hop-to.  Mom knew in order to keep things looking good around the house and garden, you had to get busy or the chaos took over.

All that is to support the idea that I, the Recovering Midwesterner, know the importance of getting moving and being productive. I want to definitely offer my support for Todd’s thoughts. He who hesitates can indeed be lost or left behind.  But I also want to add a few caveats as well.  Here they are:

  1. If you’re going to fire up the engines and be ambitious and productive, great! But don’t just get busy to look busy. Be intentional as well. Have at least a vague idea of what you want and where you’re trying to go. Otherwise you’re just kicking up sand.
  2. Do the work, certainly. But allow God / The Universe / Forces-Much-Stronger-and-Smarter-Than-You to help.
  3. While you’re at it, think about who in your network can help you do it better or make it more fun. You don’t have to be a hero, martyr, or control freak about what you’re trying to get done. There are people in your world (and if there aren’t there should be) who are smarter, savvier, and more in tune to how to get ‘er done than you.  And quite likely they’d be  thrilled to help.
  4. Make it fun.  If having a well-timed beer or glass of Pinot Noir makes working into the evening better for you, go for it. And a kick-butt playlist doesn’t hurt.
  5. Are you experiencing straight-up stalling / procrastination/ resistance?  If so, what’s up with that?  It’s helpful to have an idea of the forces behind your resistance.
  6. If you think it’s just a lack of momentum and you need something to fire you up, read Do the Work . It will take about 30 – 40 minutes. I read the whole thing on the elliptical at the gym one morning. Changed my thinking big time.
  7. Take a look at the other books and thoughts by Do the Work author Steven Pressfield.
  8. Did I mention the importance of a good playlist?
  9. Consider that you might be in an extremely stressful situation (physical, emotional, mental) or a state of extended exhaustion or burnout. This could mean you need to take it easy in order to recover.  Sometimes we try to be super heroes 24/7/365 and it catches up with us.
  10. It’s okay to take time for thoughtful pauses or times of zero activity for no reason whatsoever. It just feels really good.  (I know this as I’m part extrovert-over-achiever as well as part introvert-thoughtful-dreamer. I sit on my deck a lot just looking at the sky and trees. I love it and it pulls me back together when I feel scattered.)
  11. Work some quiet time into your life every day.  Numerous mental health and productivity experts say the less time you have for such “frivolousness” and the more ridiculous you think it is, the more you probably need it. (But don’t take my word for it. Read this post by the brilliant Martha Beck.)
  12. The irony of all this: when you intentionally take the time to slow down, pause, and get clear on what you want to do (and take care of yourself enough to build up energy and motivation), when you’re finally get going, you’ll do great work and possibly set the world on fire — in the best possible way.

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If you’ve already read my book The Intentional Networkerit’s the perfect time to go back and read Chapter 2: Set Your Vision, Intentions and Goals: What Do You Really Want? If you haven’t yet read my book, what are you waiting for? Order it here  — and set aside some time to read it.  It will help keep you on track and focused with what you really want to achieve in attracting, making, and building powerful relationships, referrals and results in business.

Still stuck on whether it’s time to pause or stoke the after-burner? Contact me at patti[at]intentionalnetworker.com. Let’s set up a time to talk.

 

11 Responses to Should you stop? Or should you go?
  1. Todd Schnick
    August 30, 2013 | 10:05 pm

    thanks patti… you know, i agree wholeheartedly with the need to slow down and get some peace…and reset. absolutely necessary…

    the simple point of my note is that the world ain’t gonna wait while you sit around and procrastinate, you know?

    procrastinating and deep thinking and meditating are very different.

    loved your suggestions, and deeply appreciated the mention!

    • pattid
      August 31, 2013 | 8:41 am

      Thank you for your post Todd – and you are so right. You definitely have to make hay while the sun shines. And it will rise and set with or without you! Your posts always get me thinking and I thank you for that! Be well my friend!

  2. […] [Update] My dear friend Patti DeNucci offered some additional commentary on my essay above…. […]

  3. Mike O'Krent
    August 31, 2013 | 1:15 pm

    Great words of wisdom, Patti. I especially like #3 & #11. I have found (regarding #11) that no matter how much I have yet to do in a given week, if I squeeze a few hours in for total rest & relaxation, MORE seems to get done by the end of the week than less. Nature does have its way of taking care of us, especially if we give it time to do so!

  4. SueAnn Wade-Crouse
    September 1, 2013 | 9:20 am

    Continuing Adult Education – Yes, a very good thing. Thanks Patti. This post is full of little wisdoms we need to be reminded of frequently. In fact, I’d love to repeat it on my Gals – Very Smart blog if that’s OK with you.

    SueAnn

    • pattid
      September 1, 2013 | 11:37 am

      Thank you, SueAnn. And sure, just link include a link to my website, please, so your subscribers know how they can join my list as well if they are so inclined.

  5. Mary Foley
    September 1, 2013 | 3:19 pm

    Great reminders and specific ideas, Patti! Go slow to go fast…something I can find difficult to do when I’m in full, fast mode. But then I get burnt out and frustrated. Today’s speed makes us manage our energy as much as out time.

    • pattid
      September 1, 2013 | 7:52 pm

      Thank you, Mary, for your comment. Going slow to go faster – love that concept.

  6. Jeanne Guy
    October 7, 2013 | 6:39 pm

    Best. Post. Ever.

    • pattid
      October 8, 2013 | 8:55 am

      Well. Thank you. Jeanne. Glad it resonated with you!

  7. […] And talk about a hard worker! While we kids were out playing and running around, Mom would take on feats of housework that I don’t think I’ve ever been able to comprehend or accomplish. Waxing the wood floors upstairs and the black and white checkered linoleum floor in the kitchen. Tossing all the throw rugs from our bedrooms down the stairs so she could haul every single one of them out onto the back porch for a good shaking. Vacuuming every inch, even in the remote corners. Dusting all the knick knacks and all the junk and toys in our rooms.  Changing sheets on all the beds every week. Hauling loads of laundry down the stairs from our rooms to the laundry room in the basement. Then hauling it back up again (wet and heavier than ever) so she could hang it outside on the line to dry. She would often warn us kids to not play around or pull on said laundry or she would “box our ears” or “tan our hides.” We weren’t sure what those threats entailed exactly, but it sounded very painful.  And if you ever loitered around complaining to Mom about being bored?  Oh my gosh. I can’t tell you how she reacted or what she came up with for us to do! (For a post on that click here.) […]

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