In Action, Change, Leaders

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

One result of being told we live in a fast-paced world is that we believe we have to hurry all the time.  We’re told that if we’re not constantly going full throttle that we will certainly get behind, so that life becomes a decades-long sprint.  The inevitable outcome is that we end up exhausted, and quite often find ourselves having run so far and so fast that we’ve lost all track of where we are.

I’m not trying to suggest that our world doesn’t move quickly.  What I’m suggesting is that, as humans, we aren’t designed for a life-long sprint.  We can’t go full speed all the time.  Somewhere in there we need a break, and even when we’re not taking a break we at least need to operate at a speed we can manage.

I think one of the many reasons our businesses struggle with change is that we feel that if we aren’t doing something fast enough then we must be failing.  So, we either try to go faster and the wheels fall off, or we just quit whatever it is we’re trying to do.  We think all of our issues, some of which took years to develop, are fixable in a matter of weeks or months.

Be realistic.  It took time for the issues you’re trying to address to fully develop.  It will take time for you to straighten them out.  You don’t have to get it all done overnight.  You couldn’t even if you wanted to.

None of this means you should just coast through things, and if you never quite get stuff done, then hey, no problem, as long as you’re moving.  You should try to finish things off.  You should try to fix issues.  You of course should work hard.  All I’m suggesting is that you accept the fact that you cannot do everything at once, and be smart enough to stop trying.

What is the most critical issue your business is facing right now?  What steps do you need to take to address it?  Put together a realistic timeline for when those steps can be completed and then start working to cross those things off the to-do list.

It seems counterintuitive to tell ourselves to slow down so we can get more done, but that’s really what this is about.  Better to do fewer things and do them exceptionally well than to try and cram as many things in as possible and do them poorly.  Good luck.

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