Rather than always rushing to the next thing, we must learn to stand still. 4

from book

We often feel uncomfortable if we’re not getting on with something – answering the next email, developing a new project, looking for promotion. We go on like this, day after day, in a blur of activity. But then we can lose track of who we are, and why we’re doing what we do. Often we rush ahead, from one thing to the next, to escape something.  The author recounts a client he had – a young CEO in charge of a new start-up – who’d come to him because he was suffering from a general unease in his professional life. Upon further investigation, it turned out that he barely got to see his partner, a woman he loved very much. He’d simply buried himself in work.  When the author asked the client why he didn’t make time to see her, he told Colonna that he was trying to outrun the past. “I’m afraid that if I don’t work hard, I’ll end up back there,” he said. Back there was his childhood, in a faraway country destroyed by war, where he’d also been bed-bound with cancer for many years.  Though this is an extreme example, it’s illustrative of a feeling many professionals have. You have to keep moving, keep doing – otherwise, you’ll slip back to some dark place.  But this endless movement leads to a toxic work environment. If you’re always rushing ahead, it can leave others with the impression that they’re not moving fast enough. The faster you seem to be moving – burning through meetings, conferences, interviews, etc. – the slower everyone else feels. And the slower they feel, the more they think they must catch up.  The result is a work culture in which no one takes a moment to figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing. Everyone is caught in the rush – like a frightened herd of wildebeest, they trample over their colleagues. And although it is inspiring to keep reaching, to have real ambition – to go for the “moon-shot,” in corporate parlance – it’s less inspiring if, in reaching, you lose your footing and bring everyone else down with you. Instead, you must have the courage to be still. So for a moment each day, practice mindfulness and just listen to yourself. Where is it you are heading in such a rush?