Keeping Up by Slowing Down 2




I’ve always had a problem keeping up. Not in any mental capacity but physically, when I’m walking next to someone who has a tighter eye on their destination than the company they’re with.


It’s not uncommon for me to stop in my tracks to see if the “greyhound” up ahead has noticed they’ve left me behind!


Yes, I am under five feet tall. I have shorter legs than most adults and some children. But I’ve walked with much taller folk and not felt rushed to keep up. So what might be the bigger picture here?


Busy is the currency of today. The busier we are, the faster we move, the more we’re perceived as being valuable. We wear the statement “I’m so busy” like it were a treasured badge of honour.


Is there any value in slowing down? Are there benefits when we calmly and consciously stay a few steps behind the herd? Whether on the street or in our mind, do we benefit from slowing down and being less busy?


As a short person who loves slow, steady and sane conversations and connections, I say yes! Slowing down opens the door (and our personal landscape) to the following:


  • PERSPECTIVE. When you’re not rushing, you’re able to see what’s ahead through a wide-angle lens instead of a zoom. If you can see more, notice more and take more in, it’s likely you’ll make better choices and notice connections. Don’t dismiss the magic in the details! When I led a short workshop as part of a large conference, I arrived two hours early. In showing up “slowly”, I was able to observe the people, themes, and purpose of the conference and integrate them into my presentation.


  • APPRECIATION. Does it really matter if someone is a few paces ahead of you? When you stop to think about it, what’s most important is that you’re walking at all! Maybe there are more reasons to celebrate than lament. At the same conference I got caught in the quicksand of inadequacy because a more experienced colleague got rousing ovation after her presentation. After putting the brakes on, I focused on what I had achieved. This was my FIRST big room, videotaped workshop and I was still standing — and quite solidly too.


  • FREEDOM. Learn lessons from the path well-travelled. Those who are miles ahead of you have navigated the path you may be walking. Instead of wishing you could be where they are, what can you learn from their journey? By being curious and open to their wisdom, you could avoid mistakes and increase your opportunities for growth and success. This was my colleague’s 10th large conference, a fact worth noting. When I reframed my insecurity I turned my feelings of inadequacy around. My envy transformed into admiration and I recognized the opportunity to be even better at my work.


When we drop down and recognize the benefits of not keeping pace with the busy-ness and merits of others, we give ourselves permission to slow down. When you slow down you can smell the roses no matter what the season because YOU are in bloom. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin regardless of your pace.


You don’t need to be fast enough to keep up because you are enough. You’ll be able to see the bigger picture, be grateful for the lessons and enjoy the benefits of all you’ve learned. You may still be uncomfortable when a walking companion accelerates ahead of you, but when you accept your “slowness” and embrace your pace, you’ll realize you’re exactly where you need to be.



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