Pacing: How I Realized I Was in Sprint Mode Most of the Time
Problems sometimes get solved in the most unusual ways. As I worked through a framework designed to help me look at one business problem in a new way, I had a “Eureka! moment” pertaining to solving an entirely different problem.
Life in the Fast Lane
What popped into my mind was a solution to a problem that I didn’t even realize I had. It surfaced while I was trying to solve something else entirely. It had to do with my preferred pace for engaging in problem-solving at a very quick pace.
I like it FAST!
It was in analyzing my preference for a fast pace that allowed me to see the benefits of a different, slower pace.
And what astonished me most was that I hadn’t even considered this before!
Cross Functional Analysis
Using Martial Arts Skills to Solve Business Problems
I train in martial arts and have done so for nearly four years. One day, I wondered whether I could solve a business problem using the technical skills I practice in mixed martial arts.
These technical skills are combative and forceful ways to defeat problems. And they work well for my fast-paced nature.
Striking came to represent dynamic, verbal attacks.
Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ or the ground-fighting game) represented actions or answers that involved a methodical approach to blocking or controlling someone or something.
Take downs (or body slams) are those things undertaken to abruptly stop something or someone. For instance, going on strike or a work slow-down is a severe take down undertaken when employment contract negotiations are at an impasse.
Every move that an opponent can deliver in a match is generally met with a counter-move or counter-attack.
Analyzing The Problem
Where’s the rub?
Lining up my thoughts and ideas underneath the appropriate headings, I noticed some irritation and tension whenever I added something to the BJJ ground game list.
Reviewing the list, I didn’t notice anything particularly onerous. But then, I noticed that the list contained tasks that required research.
Eureka! Tasks that are slow, methodical, twisty or frequently interrupted were unconsciously causing me irritation.
I REALLY like fast paced activities. These please the striker in me. I’m tall with long limbs, good for punching and kicking and applying the quickness to my feet to get out of harm’s way. And anything else can often just seem like a boring chore.
Finding the Right Gear
Applying the same pace to a different task
What popped into my head was that when I’m working with a training partner (“rolling” as we call it in jiu jitsu practice,) I’m applying the wrong pace.
The ground game is different from my “stand-up” or boxing and kicking game.
Of course! Why didn’t I notice it before? I often say to my training partner Dana that she is moving at a jiu jitsu pace (relaxed, methodical) when she should be moving at the pace of a striker (darting in and out).
It never occurred to me to reverse that advice to apply it to me because I move at the wrong pace when I’m on the ground.
I move too fast and I miss opportunities to set up my attacks effectively.
Mindset for Solutions
Urgent vs Relaxed
This made me think of strengths and weaknesses. Sorting my work activities into distinct martial arts skill sets allowed me to see that I was missing my opportunities on the ground because I wasn’t taking advantage of the extra seconds available to make a good decision before I adjusted my position.
The ground game is designed to allow time to think and choose from a list of alternative reactions. Strikers practice split-second reactions or else risk having their heads, unnecessarily, in the line of fire. Two completely different speeds.
I looked back at my list of methodical activities and felt myself relax.
By allowing myself the time and the pleasure to work through the tasks at an appropriate pace, the tension and irritation lifted. Next step is to apply that same thinking when I’m waiting for someone else to complete methodical tasks requiring their time and attention.
Learning to Pace
In Praise of Slowness
“My wake-up call came when I found myself toying with the idea of buying a collection of One-Minute Bedtime Stories, Snow White in 60 seconds. Suddenly it hit me: my rushaholism has got so out of hand that I’m even willing to speed up those precious moments with my children at the end of the day. That’s why I began investigating the possibility of slowing down.” ~ Carl Honore, “In Praise of Slowness“
Slow down, you move too fast
“Infectious multitasking is on the increase. If you’re attempting to eat breakfast and floss at the same time, you could be in trouble…Studies have shown that rushing is a direct cause of rudeness, blunder, and mishap.”
Sound familiar? Slow Down Now
Questions for your consideration:
- How do you think about adjusting your pace as you move from activity to activity?
- Do you rush other people to meet your need for speed?
- When do you know and what do you do to match another person’s pace (slow down or speed up)?
- Do you think people should adjust to your pace? When and why?
- Where are you applying the wrong pace in your life?
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Image Sources: martialartsfemale.com
- In Praise of Slow (digitalnative.wordpress.com)
- The Martial Arts – Your Gateway to a New Age Perspective (everywherealways.wordpress.com)
Filed under: Authentic Leadership, Coaching Corner, Conflict Management, Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Tagged: | Attitude, communication, emotional intelligence, Leadership Development, Stress Management