The other day I was driving on the freeway. There was a car behind me that clearly wanted to go faster than me… she was all up on my bumper. I got anxious. Then angry. When some cars in front of me got out of my way, I sped up as fast as I could to get away from her and get to my exit. Yeah, that backfired.
Not only did she stay nearly touching my bumper as I sped up, she was getting off on the same exit. And as I tried to get over to turn right, she swerved over into the right lane next to me, blocking me from getting over. I totally lost my cool. I yelled. I actually even honked my horn.
Then we had to sit at a red light next to each other. A wee bit awkward.
I felt a bit ashamed of my behavior. Then I saw bit of my life and business flash before me as I made a bunch of connections in my head and had a total “Aha!” moment.
I hate being rushed. And pressured.
(Sorry Grandma Jane, ‘dislike’ is just not strong enough. I really hate it.)
And I do it to myself. Even if it starts from another person – I’m the one that chooses to take it on make it my problem.
For years, I ran my business like everything was a rush.
I made myself believe I needed to rush projects and any sense of urgency from a client made me jump with putting out their fires, which lead to more fires and more hoses for other clients.
I felt anxious, angry, resentful. I exhausted myself.
And there was no real bottom. There was no “Aha” in the midst of everything.
There was only a small voice that told me I could choose to do it differently. It started like a whisper and got louder the more I could no longer tolerate the rushing, the pushing.
So I took small steps.
- Slowly began to create and implement systems (with some amazing help.).
- Began to really be irritated with myself when I overbooked.
- Started to stager project start dates.
- Started to say no more and referred more people out.
- Began to consider most email as important, but not urgent.
- Made a tiny bit more space in my schedule.
It took some time. Patience. Perseverance.
And it’s better. It’s actually so much better, I didn’t really realize it until I went a little crazy about that driver in a hurry.
I made her hurry, my worry. And I thought: “Wow that’s exactly how I used to run my business… responding to my perception of how rushed I thought other people were.” The funny part? Most of the time I was wrong. Most people just wanted clear expectations of when something could be done – not that it needed to be done that minute.
There are those few people that really are always in hurry and as long as we are clear and realistic about timelines, they can decide if that works, or not. And either way is just fine (although, quite honestly, it took me some time to be alright with it).
These changes have led to more happiness, ease, respect and understanding in my client relationships. (Awesome).
Look, we’re not driving sick or injured people to a hospital.
We don’t need to rush.
(Unless you want to and if you want to – go for it!)