Ep 15: Successful at Failing: Why We Need to Hurry Up & Slow Down

The Gen Y Ambitious Creative (usually associated with a heavy case of Type A syndrome) is a very stubborn breed of character. We believe that the rules don't apply to us. We commit to too many projects at once. We work tirelessly at building a legacy. Our best friends are usually our colleagues, partners and clients. We feel guilty when we go on vacations or extended time periods just being still. Meditation is calculus. Being spoiled feels yucky. Worst of all, we neglect nurturing our real relationships - the ones that matter most in the end. But wait, how did we get here?

I believe we got here because we feel left behind.

After all, we are chasing dreams and ideas - because they're in front us, always just beyond our grasp. The gift and the curse. Our ever-improving nature can sometimes have us feeling like the hamster in the wheel - getting nowhere fast. We are unsatisfied with good. Great is not good enough. Legendary? Now we're talking.

For some of us, we are alone, not by choice, but by circumstance. We see the world differently and wish to leave it better than it was when we entered it. But that's impossible to achieve without sacrifice, dedication and drive...at twice the amount and rate than a generation ago. This is the era of children quickly becoming the parents to their parents. The age where old systems crumble and dissolve. The age of the anomaly.

By definition, we are outsiders. We think big and move fast...very fast. So fast that we are missing the goodness that life has to offer. We don't put ourselves first - that delicacy goes to our products and services. It's the burden of having glorious purpose. On the road to accomplishment and success, we've gotten a little lost. We are but shadows of our former selves. In a certain light, we have failed.

To have such a wide outreach, how could we forget about those closest to us?

To be so enlightened about our purpose and skills, how could we be so dumbfounded about such a simple truth? To have such incredible foresight about the big picture, how could we lose sight of the beauty just before us? This all happened because we are fixated (and possibly obsessed) with improvement, momentum and growth. There's an irony in how cyclical this lifestyle can be.

I propose that it's time to slow down - even if just a little. If we don't, we will fail miserably. We need mentors. We need balance. We need humanity again. For some, this could mean spending every weekend unplugged. For others it might mean taking a 3-week digital detox. Whatever it is, it has to be about nurturing real relationships. Your friends and family miss you. Your child or spouse deserves more of your time. A wondrous site to behold would be delighted by your company.

Every road trip has pit stops, restaurants, stores, trails, strangers, and sub-adventures along the way. Think of how much we've missed by having such an impenetrable tunnel vision. Opportunities to be of service to someone. Experiences that have came and gone. Events that occur only once in a lifetime.

Our relationship with relationships holds less value than our relationship with achievements.

To slow down will at first feel rather counter-intuitive and may not be easy. But this is about appreciation of the things and people we've somewhat forgot about.  The ones who have been deemed less important than the mission at hand. The ones we can never seem to make time for. The moment will never be perfect - there's always a million other things we can be doing. However, slowing down really won't slow us down as much as we think it would. Remember, in the eyes of those around us, we are already leagues ahead of those in our circles, classes and age groups. Is it really so bad to sit back and enjoy life a little more?

They say that not spending as much time with the people who mattered most is one of the top 5 regrets of seniors on their deathbeds. I don't want to die with regrets - especially the ones related to people. Because in the end, we all want to be loved, remembered and valued - especially the Ambitious Creatives. We just have to remember that while the majority of the divided world could use our talents and ideas, the ones closest to us really just want a little more of our undivided attention. Lending an ear. Sharing a dinner. Watching a show. Simple things.

To every Creative out there, let's commit to stopping and smelling the roses every once in a little while. It won't hurt you - in fact, you'll feel a great joy in doing so! You'll gain more balance and do better by people. Relationships are at the essence of what it means to be human. Us Creatives have came so far to have in reality, traveled such a short distance. Slowing down is therapeutic. Slowing down is selflessness. Slowing down is growing up. Stop being successful at failing. Hurry up and slow down!