Two days ago I was cruising up I-8 on my way to Phoenix from San Diego to pick up my mom at the airport. If you have ever driven out West, you will know how straight and narrow those highways can be. You can go 100 miles without really seeing civilization. With good tunes on the radio and a bit of mindlessness, it is easy to go a tad over the speed limit.

It is embarrassing to admit to you that, right after a pitstop in Yuma, AZ for some breakfast at IHOP, I was pulled over by one very nice Officer Sanchez for going too fast.

Picture it.

“Hi, Ma’am. The reason I pulled you over is because you were going too fast.”

“I was? I thought the speed limit was 70!”

A warm smile.

“I clocked you at 81.”


He asked me where I was going, where I am from and what I do for a living. I cheerfully explained that I had had a spiritual prompting and was on my way to Sedona. Admittedly, I thought the spiritual angle might soften his heart. And I told him how ironic this all was, given I am the author of The Power of Slow.

He made me wait a full ten minutes while he checked out my profile in his car. When he returned, he kindly handed me a warning instead of a ticket, told me I really needed to slow down, and ,”Oh, Christine? Read your book!”

I giggled to myself all the way to Phoenix.

Thank you, Officer Sanchez. You are right. Slow really is faster.

The other day I scored major points with my son. He indirectly mentioned his concern about my iPhone obsession by commenting about how another soccer mom watched her phone more than the game.

“She’s reaaaaaaally manic about her phone, Mom,” he eyed me closely. He was looking for hand tremors, involuntary eye-twitching or anything to reveal whether or not I could take on his veiled challenge. (To my defense, I do watch his games, not my phone, but it is usually in my pocket, tugging at my thoughts even as I focus on the field).

In an effort to prove him I could do without my phone not only on the sidelines, but also in life, I snapped it off mid-day in the middle of my work week and headed for the pool.

“Looks like it’s going to be a hot one. And look, Son, I’m leaving my phone at home.” He raised not one, but both eyebrows as he watched me turn it off completely and calmly place it in the cupboard.

Can you hear the slot machine go ka-ching? Yes, I scored big with him that day. And you know what? Instead of drawing my attention to my phone screen, I had plenty of time to watch other people do it instead.

Is that really what I do all day? I watched people cling to their devices like an emphesymic patient to his oxygen tank. Because I knew my phone was at home, I felt more energetic, as if that holding pattern of “what is someone calls/texts/emails me” had been eradicated. And in truth, it had.

It appears many more of us are engaging in digital distractions than not these days.

My Wall Street trader friend on Twitter @StalinCruz pointed out an article about distracted walking that underscores our often harmful obsession with smartphones. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1,152 Americans have been injured in handheld digital device-related events while walking in the past few years. A man recently fell onto the train tracks in Philadelphia while playing with his phone. Luckily, he was not seriously injured, but it shows how all-consuming our electronics have become that we don’t even notice the danger of our own behavior.

A University of Maryland study spanning six years found 116 cases in which pedestrians were killed or seriously injured while wearing headphones, two-thirds of whom were men under the age of 30. Fifty percent of the cases involved trains, while 33% were incidents in which a warning horn was sounded just before the accident.

Believe it or not, I have friends who leave their cellphones behind when we meet. We enjoy hours-long conversations without the need to cache, photograph or Facebook every moment we spend together for their broader network. I find when I’m with people who’d rather update their social media status than update me on their lives, it is a classic cocktail party experience in which they are looking over your shoulder for someone better to interact with. It’s distracting at best. And in the case of walking, talking and texting, it can be lethal too.

Take the no phone zone challenge today. Leave that mobile behind and reconnect with people in the flesh with your eyes, ears and fingertips at the ready for a real, not virtual, human interaction. Turning on to life is worth it.

Trust me on this one.



Sometimes life takes you on a circuitous path. As a new author and PR professional, I meandered the aisles at Book Expo America in Chicago a few years ago, landing somewhere near the Wiley & Sons booth. The cheerful For Dummies® collection stared at me from the faux mahogany shelves, encouraging me to ask the publisher bold questions. I even pitched her a For Dummies® idea on book promotion. She smiled, then pressed a copy of Eric Yaverbaum’s Public Relations Kit for Dummies in my hand.

Several years wiser, I found myself chatting with Eric via Skype about mindful living, plastic water bottles, and working from home.

Around the same time I was snooping the aisles of BEA trying to get a handle on my new existence, Eric was undergoing a transformation himself. His then fourteen year old daughter encouraged him to ditch his SUV, exchange energy-gobbling light bulbs for more efficient ones around the house, and start drinking tap water. Little did he know, a new business idea was born., a Web site dedicated to educating the public about the potential hazards of drinking from disposable plastic water bottles, is yet another brilliant business idea that Eric, and his adman friend Mark DiMassimo, had (alongside his PR agency, Ericho Communications, Eric runs a college Web site called Leaning on the public conscience, Eric and Mark developed an idea to do some good in the world. They went about developing a reusable (safe) plastic water bottle. Cameron Diaz was spotted carrying one.  The rest is history.

That their business idea made an unexpected $6 million not only surprised Eric and Mark. It also had a humbling effect.

You can make money while making a difference.

leadership“I don’t mind making money,” Eric admitted to me as he showed me his best-selling book, Leadership Secrets of the World’s Most Successful CEOs. After all, as a spokesman for leadership, Eric definitely walks his talk. In fact, in 2008 while working from his home office three days a week and commuting once into New York City and once to Tampa, Eric had his most financially successful year ever. Caring for his chronically ill wife and watching his two children grow, Eric says, are more fulfilling than running a rat race to the finish. With his new life design, he is able to accomplish more with less.

Operating several offices doesn’t sound like a slow lifestyle at all. But consider this. He used to commute into the city from his Westchester home every day, entering what he considers ‘the cattle call’ every morning while commuting 2.5 hours. “I hated it,” he says.

He rightly suggests that “slow is a state of mind”. While pace has something to do with it, I would argue slow has more to do with your relationships – with time, with your family, and with your surroundings.

Are you treating the Earth well or do you stamp your Wookiee-size carbon footprint on its surface every day?

Do you ever see your kids before they go to bed or does your commute eat up all of your free time?

Are you burned out or turned on by your life?

“If you’re not really passionate about what you do, stop doing it. Don’t just punch a clock,” Eric advises.

The Power of Slow is not about punching anything. It’s about getting a kick out of your life and the days that shape it. Serial entrepreneur Eric Yaverbaum has turned his life into a passion project.

You can, too.