Slow Down to Speed Up

There is a song by musical group Alabama.  Its title is “I’m in a Hurry to Get Things Done”.  The song begins with the following:

I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
Even I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.

There is no doubt that we are in a hurry up world. Between emails, texts, phone calls, zoom calls, face to face meetings, work and just doing the basics of taking care of ourselves and others there is excessive strain.  What happens when the body and mind are subject to excessive strain?  The tension, the worry and the feeling that we must continue to run the race of life at a high-speed wear us out mentally, emotionally and physically.

Hurrying and running all the time has an adverse effect on your health. In my personal business coaching practice in Houston, I encounter the debilitating effect of always being in a hurry with several of my clients. One of the things we collaborate on is how they can slow down.

To an “on the go” businessperson, the phrase “slow down” is threatening and an implicit condemnation of how they are conducting their business and life.  What slow down is addressing is that one must take time to do the following, reflect, evaluate and then respond.  One must pause. The final component is that one must find adequate rest.

What is the cost of not taking a pause and of not getting adequate rest?  There will be more incorrect decisions which take greater time and energy to correct, weakening you further. And the cycle repeats and things get worse.  I once had a mentor who observed my hurry up mode and that I never slowed down.  He was an executive with a large national corporation.  I was reflecting on something that I was involved in not being done right which was going to cost me more money and time.  I had the money.  I did not have the time.

As he listened, he smiled.  When I finished, he asked if he could make an observation.  He said, “In your too busy life if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when are you going to find time to do it right?”  That question stopped me in my tracks. It became clear about the mess I was creating.  Then he said this:  “To move forward in business and life you must slow down and get more things right the first time.  Only when you get things right the first time are you positioned to speed up.”  Slow down.  Get it right the first time.  You won’t be slowed down going back and correcting your mistakes.  Without having to correct your mistakes, now you can speed up.

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