Decisive. Active. Speedy.

Our culture values these attributes. We want to get stuff done. And we want to get stuff done quickly.

I have bought into this “quick to act” mindset for years. And it’s gotten me pretty far.

But recently, I’m exploring how and when this doesn’t serve me – or my clients.

Sometimes – when it’s a busy day – I’d be better off slowing down.

Here’s some advice about slowing down from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the holder of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage:

“In this particular age, our distraction often manifests as speed. Speed kills the space in which we could appreciate what we’re doing. That frantic quality creates its own power and momentum, which begin to rule us.

Because we can’t rest in the present moment, we can’t be satisfied; we conduct our life aggressively. We employ competition, fixation and irritation to chase after appointments, phone calls, and meetings – whatever it takes to get us where we think we need to go.

Recently, a client graciously and gently helped me see the shadow side of my speedy default. It was causing some confusion – and some misalignment among the team. My default self wanted to get ahead of the situation. To make sure no opportunity was lost. To make sure no problem unsolved. But in doing so, I was causing a little chaos.

So I’m exploring…

  • Maybe a decision can be delayed while we gather some more data.
  • Maybe a meeting can be postponed because one of the key players had a rough start to her day.
  • Maybe an email can go considered, but unanswered for a little longer…
  • Maybe a meeting can be free of outputs… an expansive brainstorm with no to-do’s at the end.

I’d like to thank Tricia Hart at Amnesty for inspiring this post and for reminding me that there is always something profound to learn about yourself and your leadership at every stage of your career.