Living with a sense of urgency can be a great motivator. The trick is to be sure that the urgency you feel is yours and not imposed upon you. Today there were a lot of situations in my day that created haste and while many came from outside influences, some came from within myself. Many of us thrive in a frenzied state of urgent action. And while that frenetic energy serves to make us more productive, it is important to consider if it best serves you before acting on it. Personally, I do my best work at a slower pace. I am my most authentic self when I take a minute to breathe and be me first.
Urgency while necessary, and important to meet deadlines, in some cases does not serve me well – it leads to sloppy mistakes and extra stress. Knowing myself and paying attention to how I feel I’ve noticed that for me slow and steady wins the race. Whether you prefer the fast pace or the slow build it is important to remember that we are not in competition with anyone else. We are not required to prove ourselves or our worth. Each of us has unique and beautiful worth already. We do not require permission or attention for this to be true. Each of us is moving forward on our own path. Remember we do not require guidance or support from those that would have us run ragged for their benefit. In fact, let’s hope our work misses them completely. I hope to draw to myself only those people that nurture and enhance my wellbeing.
I read an interesting quote this week, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” The wisdom here is to be attentive to how we feel in a space and discern if it is meant for us. We can always choose to leave. We do not exit out of self-doubt or insecurity but with a deep understanding of self and the realization that there is somewhere more fitting for us and our work. Don’t stay in the wrong room out of obligation, indebtedness, or for anyone else. Find the best room for you, it is where you will thrive.
If you do find yourself in the wrong room or find the pace of life a little too urgent, I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of recovery and reflection. Sometimes the fastest way forward is standing still and paying attention. We can charge full speed ahead and waste a lot of time walking down the wrong paths or into the wrong rooms. Take your time and follow your heart, it somehow already knows where you want to go.*
*That last line is from Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech for Stanford graduates in 2005.