What If You Stopped Rushing?

imlateThis one’s for all you multi-taskers, list makers, and impatient people out there. =)

Last week I was going through notes I’ve made on calls with my coach. Here’s what jumped out at me:

“Hurrying is based on fear, and fear is ultimately destructive.”

I remember clearly when I wrote that sentence down. I was feeling like I was hurrying through all the things I wanted to get done in a day, and then feeling frustrated because I felt the results I wanted weren’t doing me the favor of hurrying along. It felt gross—all angsty and busy-bee-ish and “What am I doing wrong?”-ish. But I didn’t exactly know how to move past it. And so I brought it up with my coach. (Man do I love working with a coach! Have I mentioned that here before? I really really do.)

I believe that the same content can have different messages with different impacts on you at different times. I remember when I initially wrote that sentence down, I was thinking something along the lines of, “Right, hurrying is bad, I shouldn’t hurry.”

Notice the word “should” in that line of thinking. Here’s a little hint: Any time you hear yourself saying “should” or “shouldn’t”, you are NOT hearing and trusting your inner wisdom. You are hearing and trusting your inner a-hole. (Click to Tweet!)

What I heard this second time I read it was “You think you’re helping by trying to hurry, but really you’re just hurting yourself. It’s OK to try something different.”

(I wrote about the beginning of the process that’s helped me get to this current point in this post: One Question That Can Make You a Time Millionaire.)

Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort to slow the heck down, and here’s the thing: I am still getting plenty done. And, I have a lot more space in my mind and body to think, to relax, to be present, to be real.

I mean, listen, I’ve got decades of practice in moving as quickly as possible, mostly in the name of packing a lot of things in. As a Girl Scout, I earned so many badges my Mom resorted to stapling them on my sash. In high school, there wasn’t an extracurricular activity I didn’t try, from Scholar’s Bowl to soccer and softball to beauty pageants. My first go in the working world was working two jobs, one part-time in the early mornings and one full-time, 9 to 5. I earned a master’s degree in two years while working full time. You could say the achievements I’ve racked up are worth the hurry, and certainly sometimes hustle is just what the doctor ordered.

But hustle and hurry are not sustainable. They have costs.

All that rushing takes a big toll, on your body, your health, your ability to think, your mental health, your relationships, your kids. (How do you think it feels to be constantly told to hurry up?)

And perhaps the biggest cost that I’m only seeing now is this: The fear that fuels the drive to hurry is that there’s not enough time. And that fear kills your momentum before you even start.

Meaning, when you hurry, you actually sabotage your desire to get more, and more meaningful, things done.

Why? Because that fear convinces you that lack is the true nature of things—there’s not enough for you. Or, if there’s enough for you, there won’t be enough for someone else. It makes you scared, and when you’re scared, you’re not listening to that inner wisdom that always guides you toward exactly what you want. Again, you’re listening to the inner a-hole who’s telling you things will never work out or you’ll never be good enough.

If you’re ready to stop mindlessly rushing, simply because it’s what you’ve always done, or because you think it’s the only way to take care of all the things you want and need to take care of, here’s what you have to give up:

  • Squeezing in one more thing
  • Getting angry about traffic, or construction, or slowpoke drivers
  • Having all your chores done before you do the important stuff
  • The idea that there is only one right way to do things (you could put all the dishes in the sink and simply wipe the counters instead of laboring until the kitchen is spotless after every meal, for example)
  • The adrenaline rush of always feeling like you’re behind
  • Feeling sorry for yourself because your time is not your own

How much do you notice yourself doing any of the things in the list above? What other sneaky ways does your hurrying addiction show up in your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

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6 thoughts on “What If You Stopped Rushing?

  1. I love the concept that hurrying is based on fear. It stopped me in my tracks (when I was reading your article, whilst cooking dinner, watching football highlights and making a mental to – do list). I am all about slowing down these days:) I was proud to be a very efficient multi – tasker, now I am working hard on unlearning that skill. One thing at the time is my new mantra:)

    1. Joanna, it really stopped me in my tracks the second time around too! Multi-tasking is a worthy skill, there will always be times when you need to kick out the jams; the costs really start to pile up when you think you have to be that way all the time, in order to get things done, in order to be valuable, in order to keep yourself distracted from thinking about the stuff that really matters. It is so valid and loving and such a beautiful example to others to give one thing all your attention. 🙂 Thanks for chiming in, I love hearing from you! xo, Kate

  2. You have this way of hitting me where I live, with posts coming right when I need to read them. I was just notified I’ll get fined if i bring my son late to school (for my coop work shift) again. I’m always saying “hurry buddy, we’re late!” and “let’s go!” I know I lose track of how long I’ve been doing stuff and think of things and try to squeeze them in. I need a white board or something I can write down the things I think of on, and to start wearing a watch again so I know just how long it’s been. I look at the clock and it’s 8, but by the time we get to the car it’s 8:22!

    1. Kendra, I always love hearing from you. I certainly spent several weeks at the beginning of the school year in that same space — doing a lot of hollering and ‘hurrying up’-ing. I definitely found that having a chart and giving a star to each of my kids on each day that they got in the car with all their stuff and without whining or dragging their feet helped them. (I honestly am flabbergasted that it is so motivating to them, but it is, they love it, and after a week or two they had just naturally changed their habits and we didn’t need it anymore. Now we have a chore chart.) But what helped me was to stop thinking about the mornings as a time to get things done. With getting myself dressed and ready and getting them fed and lunches made and forms signed, it’s plenty. And it’s half the time I get to spend with my kids on a typical weekday too — why do I want to be packing in things like checking email or bank balances or what have you in to that time? I still move pretty fast in the mornings, but that crazed look in my eye is gone. 🙂 xo, Kate

  3. Your post, Kate, came just right on time, and I don’t believe in the coincidence. I read it and felt like all the things I was thinking in the past 3 months were put in writing. I changed my job to a very different one several months ago. And I totally agree with your coach that hurrying is fueled by fear as it is confirmed by my own recent experience of the last months. I got this new job and was so excited and motivated, but it was demanding a huge amount of effort and time. At the same time, my consciousness was contemplating on the toll that I knew I was paying due to high expectations of my employer. I had to adapt and work not at my own pace, but at the pace demanded by others – constant hurrying and being late with unreasonable deadlines. And yes, there was this constant feeling of fear in the background, hiding behind the urgent to-do list. It all just became so obvious after reading your post – like an insight into my inner real feelings about the situation I am in. Time has come to reorganize my priorities:)

    1. Hi Jelena. So glad the post hit you at just the right time in just the right way. I definitely believe there are different messages in the same passages of words at different times. I support you, 100%, in reorganizing your priorities. 🙂 Love, Kate

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