Learning to Pace Myself In Life and Work
Posted on 26th April 2022 at 08:00
If there is one lesson I seem to need to learn again and again, in my life and work, it is the need to pace myself. I came home from a lovely break three weeks ago feeling refreshed and full of new ideas. Passion for my work is not something I am short on. I threw myself straight into implementation the morning after I got home, high on the adrenaline and excitement to get things done. A couple of weeks later, I had the combination of feeling a bit overwhelmed by what I had started and a little tired by how much I was doing. This idea of pace returning again; I always believe I can get things implemented quicker than reality would suggest.
What I have come to realise is that ‘pace’ is how control shows up in my life. The idea that if I ‘do’ it faster, I can control the outcome. Increase the chances of success. My lived experience, however, is that when I slow down, it naturally works out at the pace it is supposed to. Often the outcome is, in fact, better because I give the ideas the incubation time they really need. This, however, disproves what I believe when I allow myself to become too stressed; that I am responsible for everything and that it is all urgent. My practice in these moments is to recognise this internal need for control and gently ask myself: how can I let go a little? Where can I ask for help? How can I elongate (these self-imposed!) deadlines?
I preach regularly about the need to make space in life to be whole, to invest in all parts of who we are. I believe this approach is how we maximise our impact in the world. It enlarges rather than diminishes us. But I am regularly reminded that I remain a student of my own work. I am frequently humbled by the gap between what I know, research I do, and how it shows up in my life. To accept I will always have the realities of being human. I take solace from the fact that I catch myself in this mode much quicker than I would have in the past. Progress, for me, is what matters. Each time, I return to the intention I have set around the person I want to be, the work I want to do and the pace that supports both of these things.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”
- Lau Tzu
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