I have noticed recently that many of my clients and colleagues are rushing about, trying trying TRYING to get everything done and find more hours in the process. They are worn out, stressed and generally exhausted. I sometimes get tired just watching.
Recently a client had received feedback from team members that he was not approachable. This was both surprising and disappointing to my client because he believed he worked hard to be open and receptive. “What”, he asked, “Can I do differently?” Watching my client rush about the office, it was easy to see why his employees may feel they were unapproachable – he was just too darn busy to be interrupted. SLOW DOWN, I told him.
I related the story about Rose, someone I knew early in my career. I was always SO BUSY, rushing about, working hard to get things done, and just generally feeling frazzled. Rose always had a smile, walked down the hall at a relaxed pace, and seemed to be the most easy-going person. She also was the one who always produced more work than the next 5 people combined and who everyone could count on when a difficult challenge arose.
One day I asked her how she was always so calm and relaxed. I told her that she never seemed rushed and always seemed at ease, yet managed to get an amazing amount of work accomplished.
She explained to me that she realized when she was rushing about, running from one meeting to the next, the message she was sending to everyone was “Look At Me. I am so busy; I am so important”. She realized that if she just slowed down as she walked down the hall she had time and awareness to notice others.
The 30 seconds extra that it cost her to walk slowly rather than dashing about wasn’t worth the cost.
The cost to herself of wearing herself out.
The cost to her work relationships by sending the message that she was more important than they.
The cost to her work by being so frantic and busy she had to re-do what she had so hurriedly done.
Just for today, be aware as you walk down the hall. What message are you sending? Is it the message you want to send?
Try to slow your pace and notice people and activities around you. Smile and say hello to people you meet. What you receive will likely be well worth the cost of the few extra seconds it took for you to walk a bit more slowly.