Is the Need for Speed Getting in Your Way? | Blog
Is the Need for Speed Getting in Your Way? | Blog
“I feel the need. The need for speed.” If you’re of a certain generation, then you might recognize this famous quote that was said by Maverick in the film Top Gun. While I’m not a fighter pilot, I can relate to the sentiment. There are many times when I feel a need—a need for speed. I need to go faster, move faster, accomplish faster. And it really looks like something is “at stake” if I don’t. The strong feeling of “need for speed” is compelling.
This last week, I was inspired to rethink my relationship to speed. AGAIN. This seems to be one of those lessons that I get to revisit over and over. There are times when my feelings of urgency and being “behind” are so compelling that the only solution looks like “speed up”. Well, this last week, between being sick and a bad case of jet lag, no amount of mental pressure, push, stress or worry, could get me moving. In my mind, this was a problem. It would mean rescheduling important meetings, upset clients, blown deadlines and all sorts of complications.
Notice I used the words, “in my mind”. You see, that’s where the problem existed. When I finally woke up to my internal state and saw how revved up my mind was, I was able to pause. While I definitely had to miss meetings, reschedule clients, and, I did in fact, miss deadlines, the complications were non-existent. The worry and pressure were not pointing to a truth—they were pointing to my state-of-mind.
We are often rushing and on our way to something: a meeting, an appointment, to pick up the kids, to exercise, etc. We’re rushing through our day, a meal or a conversation. You might even be rushing through this blog. We’re racing across the surface of our lives but not really arriving—not dropping in.
We have a need for speed. A habit of “fast”, and it’s seductive. But consider this, more often than not, fast is not better. It creates chaos—inefficiencies and mistakes are made. And perhaps, more importantly, going fast robs us of connection, insight, and fulfillment.
I’ve seen organizations and entrepreneurs pay thousands, if not millions, of dollars due to decisions that were made too fast. By letting urgency guide their decisions, rather than slowing down, getting present, listening, and letting clarity come, they let the feeling of urgency dictate timing, and they made decisions before they were ready.
Urgency, the need for speed, is often a reflection of a disturbed mind, not a clear mind.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times when the pace of life is fast. What I’m referring to is our internal state. We can move through decisions quickly and efficiently in a freer and more present mind. However, in a rushed, sped-up mind, we miss things— we misinterpret things, and we can get sloppy.
When we see the urgency for what it is, we don’t respect it. We don’t succumb to it. We let it pass and, in its place, a higher quality of mind emerges.
That’s the way our minds work. When we slow down, just a little, our perception shifts and opens up. From this broader perspective, our common sense, a fresh insight or new clarity comes forward.
When we slow down enough to be in this moment—right now—we sense what is called for . . . what is needed. When we are in our habit of speed, we miss it; we rush across the surface.
Recently, a client shared a beautiful story. He had a habit of fast. His wife and family would often try to get him to slow down, take time off and relax, but the need for speed was too compelling. He had a busy mind, was antsy, and constantly moving. He rushed everywhere. As he started to see the relationship between thought, state-of-mind and his well-being, he started to see that, in his words, he was “Rarely present.” While he had a great life, a wonderful family, and was very successful, he lived in a constant feeling of restlessness. He did not fully enjoy his life.
Racing through his life kept him from taking in all the amazing moments with his wife, his family and his work. He was skimming the surface and not dropping in—not letting this moment, or any moment, matter or have impact.
This realization affected him deeply. He naturally began to lean into the moment more often. He would notice his restlessness and urgency but rather than responding to it, he would come back to the present moment as best he could.
One day, on a drive with his mother, he was thinking about work the next day, when he noticed he wasn’t paying attention to her. So, he came back to the “now” and listened. In that presence, that connection, his love for her filled him up. He reached out and grabbed her hand. They had a moment of silence—a moment of depth or, as he described it, “A moment of pure love.” He never spoke but after a few moments, his mother whispered, “Me too, sweetie. Me too.”
He was tearing up as he shared this with me and said, “I am so grateful for that moment with her. I know how rare it was. I know I will never regret slowing down and getting present.”
When he shared that with me, I could see the profound wisdom in that statement. I could see how I did have moments when I regretted going too fast, not pausing, but like him, I never regretted the moments when I chose to slow down & get present.
Slowing down, allows the present moment to reveal itself to us.
When we slow down, we see what is, and we move forward with more clarity. In a freer more present mind, we bring ourselves fully to the moment and to the task at hand.
And, as my client’s story so beautifully illustrates, we connect. We “drop in” to the moment and connect to ourselves and others.
These moments leave an imprint. They inform our lives and fill us up.
“Slowing down, allows the present moment to reveal itself to us.”
This moment—right now—matters as much as any moment in time. Savor it.
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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company bringing the insights of performance and fulfillment to clients around the world. She helps organizations, leaders, entrepreneurs and coaches access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of performance in work and life. Barb is the Founder of Beyond Limits in Business and host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. If you’d like to experience in-depth, robust and transformative mentoring for you and your business check out Barb’s 6-month Beyond Limits Small Group Mentoring Program. You can follow Barb on Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at barbarapatterson.com