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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

The toxicity of constant urgency and 2 types of self-kindness as antidotes

There’s a fine line between purposeful productivity and meaningless exploitation.

But is the line really that fine?

Following last week’s Wise Wednesdays on the subject I was informed that the UK does have guidelines for its corporate culture from the UK Financial Reporting Council…

If you’re interested, the UK Corporate Governance Code’s word on organisational culture is that: “The board should establish the company’s purpose, values and strategy, and satisfy itself that these and its culture are aligned. All directors must act with integrity, lead by example and promote the desired culture.”

As someone who worked in policy, I’m well aware that guidelines are not necessarily worth the pixels they’re written with because they’re not enforceable. And the scope is so broad that the organisational culture could be anything – modern slavery is also a culture after all.

But at least they name the Board (and therefore CEO and directors) as responsible for creating the organisation’s work culture…

So the wisdom here might be: make sure you pick a company that has values you’re aligned with (e.g look up their mission statement on their website).

But don’t look at the job or pay package alone, or you might end up in hot water…


On another note, one of my clients completed her coaching process with me this week. I asked her what the most useful insight was and she said this:

Slow down.

[Read on or watch the video]

It reminded me of the parable of the man who asks the Zen sage to teach him the essence of Zen. The sage replies: slow down.

Can it be that simple?

I believe it can. Not necessarily easy but certainly simple.

I’ve experienced the effect of slowing down. I see my clients’ lives transform as they create more space in their life experience. And there’s growing scientific evidence around the importance of rest and recovery for innovative thinking as well as the myriad benefits of mindfulness.

In fact, this week, I’m only saying two things on how to be kind to yourself

1) In relationship to your outer world: breathe + learn to say “no”

2) In relationship to your inner-world: breathe and be still for a moment

Notice that the world doesn’t end and that your life might feel a bit more in sync afterwards.

Repeat until you feel in the flow of life again.


As a recovering overachiever, I know the restless itch of needing to do things, the terrible ache of feeling you’re wasting time when you’re not engaged in something “productive”. There might even be a sense of inadequacy at not meeting life’s constant and immediate demands.

And I know this sense of urgency is a cognitive virus. It’s toxic to the human genius. It’s a survival mechanism misapplied. There is no tiger chasing you.

"When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly". Patrick Overton.

In my early 30s, I woke up to the fact that I was unable to relax. And there were always things to do and feel stressed about.

A few years later, I learned the magic of being vulnerable for a moment or two. Relaxing and letting go of control felt vulnerable.

But my willingness to be vulnerable created all sorts of magical openings and opportunities in my life. What I wanted was closer than I imagined.

Are you willing to allow magic into your life?...

In this fast-paced, urgent world, giving yourself permission to slow down is probably the kindest thing you’ll ever do for yourself. And others will benefit, too.

Have a great week,


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Dr Amina Aitsi-Selmi works with high achieving “warrior-healers” across professions who want to balance their need for independence and challenge with their desire to connect and be. She helps them discover and live what’s true for them within and beyond conventional careers. Book an exploratory conversation:

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