I live life at a pretty fast pace. I’ve never been someone who spends my holidays sunbathing on the beach – boredom kicks in after around 5 minutes, quite aside from the fact that being a redhead means I go pink very fast too 🙂 The way I know how to live life is to fill my days, doing lots of different things; being busy has always been a badge of pride, a measure of success.
For me, success has also always been about moving forward. Achieving the next thing on my list. Getting better at things, doing more, learning more, achieving more, moving faster. Even the way I move physically and exercise reflects this; I walk fast, very fast, and I love high intensity interval training. On the flip side, let’s just say yoga has never really been my thing.
For the last 37 years, it has served me pretty well. I’ve had a successful career, I’ve done a lot of things I love with some wonderful people. And yet somewhere on this journey of mine into coaching, I got stuck. Relentless, continuous forward motion just wasn’t quite cutting it any more.
Living life at that pace, I miss some things. Some connections. Some things you only see when you really take time to look and listen. Some emotions that are there, but never expressed because there’s no time or space to be sad, or frustrated, or lonely, or afraid. And I miss some things working with my clients too, when I’m so keen to support them to move forward that we sometimes lose the space to reflect.
It’s as though I’m so busy doing, I’ve forgotten how to just be.
I’ve realised that for all that this has worked well so far, it isn’t working any more. I need to build some range, the ability to work at all sorts of different speeds. The ability to go deep, not just go forward fast. The ability to reflect, be with myself, to meet people exactly where they are without a need for constant progress. The ability to really get curious about myself and others in a way that goes outside what’s comfortable and easy and fast.
Right now, doing that seems pretty scary. It is about as unknown as it gets for me, not just a step outside my comfort zone but a country mile. I’ve never been comfortable being with my emotions in particular, and stopping to look deeply at them fills me with fear that they might overwhelm me.
But it also fills me with a sense of possibility. What wonders are there in myself and in the world that I have not yet seen as I zoomed past? What new connection can I create with those around me by slowing down and just being with people? What can I create for my own well-being by no longer ignoring and running past things that scare me, but embracing them and working through them? What new paths open up when I learn to live at a different pace – one of my choosing, not one that is automatic?
I’m just embarking on this shift now, so I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I invite you to reflect on your own automatic pace, and see how well it is working for you? What does it get in the way of? What possibilities might open up if you played this game of life at a different speed?