Think for a minute about how the pace of your life: are you constantly trying to go faster and get more done, or do you “settle” for going slower and stretch your energy further?
A couple of months ago I started yet another diet and exercise program. This time it was going to be for real and last forever. But there was one fatal flaw in my plan. I went fast, trying to get in shape and lose a ton of weight in month one. I failed because I got discouraged and burned out, physically and mentally. I couldn’t sustain the torrid pace.
I start every work day practicing silence and reflection. (I live near Boulder; how else would you expect I describe my morning discipline?) No more “hit the ground running” when I walk through the door. If I continued that approach my work would go the way of my exercise program.
The first 15-20 minutes I review my calendar and consider the day ahead: appointments, meetings, people I hope to see, conversations I plan to have and progress I want to make on a project. I rehearse the topics of conversation, how I want my voice to sound and the body language I want to communicate.
The next few minutes I connect with colleagues around the campus, coffee mug in hand, finding out about their weekend, how did their kid do in his band competition, how are they doing today, where do they need help and letting them know I am glad to be doing the work with them.
Last, I think about how to make life better for our residents, with a focus on incremental gains.
We are intentional about minimizing panic and a frenetic pace in our organization. Managing a campus with 400 residents, 200 colleagues, dozens of vendors and providers, hundreds of family members and miles of leaky pipes is tough duty.
We don’t do it alone, and we don’t do it in a hurry. The slower we go, the faster we get there.