Notice Your Pace

Are you aware, and intentional, of your current pace? Are you racing, wanting to sprint with a closing kick to the finish line, or motivated for completing an important task or milestone accomplishment? Are you clearing the deck so you can head off for a vacation?

Many leaders are wired and/or conditioned to be highly proactive throughout the workday, Type “A” personalities driven to get lots of tasks done under tight deadlines and time constraints. We strive to “get up to speed” and “hit the ground running” on new projects.

Operating on automatic, running at the same rapid, unrelenting pace moving from one task to the next all day long, business can evolve to “busy-ness” toil. Over time we may lose perspective and miss significant learning and growth opportunities. We can be so absorbed in our work that we have little or no awareness of how we are being perceived and interpreted by others as we charge down the hallway on the way to the rest room. An executive once shared he was always running at 120 miles an hour, and didn’t even know how to slow down!

Just altering our pace can get us off automatic and help us see with greater clarity. Before we can receive, first we need to turn off that striving, driving machine. Resist the temptation to keep running by intentionally pausing to disrupt the flow of the breakneck pace, to gather thoughts, even despite the mountain of tasks awaiting our attention. In his book “Stopping – How to Be Still When You Have To Keep Going” Dr. David Kundtz says “Stopping brings you awake and aware of the present moment. But it also helps you bring together the threads of your history, of your stories. It helps you to remember who you are, where you come from, where you are going, and where you want to go; to remember your original goals, ideals, and dreams; and to remember why you started doing what you do so that you can see if that’s still what you want to do. Even if you have no clear answers for many of the big questions of life, it is vital to continue to remember what your questions are. Losing your questions is truly losing your way.”

Slowing down even a little can help. We will have more operational control of our vehicle when we lighten the foot off the accelerator from 120 to 80, even more so at 60 mph. Are you feeling a desire to pull back, slow down for some time to reflect, assimilate new learning? Are you positioned, ready and open to receive input, fresh thinking, and new insights from your surroundings? When you have conversations, come out of meetings, see, hear or read something new, do you slow yourself down or pause to let it in, absorb and process it? How often do you pause to survey the big picture and direction you’re heading, to consider any adjustments that can be made?

We can heighten our awareness by noticing our cadence. By slowing down, even stopping from time to time, we are more open to receive, appreciate, learn and grow from whatever comes our way.

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