Slow Down. You Move Too Fast.

Susan S Freeman Blog

Remember the 59th Street Bridge (Feelin’ Groovy) song from Simon and Garfunkel? The lyrics may seem a far cry from relevance for leadership, yet I don’t believe it is.  Take a look.

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
Hello lamppost,
What cha knowing?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in’ doo-doo,
Feelin’ groovy.
Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.

Your leadership effectiveness depends on a number of things; vision, strategy, execution, collaboration, creativity, listening, among others.   One area you might not have thought about much is pacing.  The pacing of our lives and workplaces has changed radically, yet our leadership practices have not adjusted.

We are moving too fast, as if we are in a perpetual “spin” cycle on our washing machines.  The price we pay for this is enormous.  Reactive decision-making, stress, breakdowns in communication, are just a few.

slow down

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to walk a labyrinth.   This was not my first time, and yet I approached the experience as if it were.  As I began to walk the outer circle I took slow, deliberate steps, hearing the crunching of leaves beneath my feet.  I consciously focused on my senses, noticing sound, smell and sights.  With every step and each turn around the circles it was an entirely new moment—as if the previous step did not exist—and there was no anticipation of the next one.  I saw things at each moment I had not seen previously.  They had always been there, but did not make it into my awareness.  The whole process took about twenty minutes, yet the lessons remain with me weeks later.

I thought about how many leaders I know long for such an experience.  It’s so simple, yet not easy.

Slow down. 

How can you bring this quality into your leadership?

Create moments where you deliberately slow down the pacing. It can be when you are walking or washing dishes.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you slow down and breathe deeply from your belly.  Notice sensation in your body.  Notice what you see, smell, and hear.  Slowing down your breathing and your pacing will change the quality of your awareness.  When this changes, you allow important qualities of thinking to reveal themselves.  Insights, priorities, clear vision can only happen when you slow down.

Try it.  You may even discover that “life is groovy,” and that changes everything else.

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