Time to Pick Up the Pace

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I woke up feeling reasonably rested for a change. My Fitbit’s sleep tracker doesn’t think I slept all that well, but what does it know? All it does is look for movement and track my heart rate. The only time I’m not moving at night is when I’m wide awake and trying to get back to sleep. And my heart runs really slow all the time. All I care about is how tired I am in the morning.

Several years ago, I was in the hospital overnight with “unspecified chest pain.” Let me tell you, if you want to skip the lines at the emergency room, walk in pointing to your chest. You’ll go straight back to a room. It’ll still be an hour before you see a doctor, but at least you’re not out in that germ incubator they call a reception area.

Well, I skipped the lines that night, and I also got a warm bed to sleep in. That’s the other thing about chest pain – you’re not going home. All through the night, this alarm kept going off next to my head. The nurse said it was a low-pulse alarm that goes off any time my heart rate drops below 50. Which, incidentally, happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I fall asleep..

My doctor says it’s not a problem, but apparently it was enough to keep me awake all night. I don’t know what causes it to run so slow. They say it happens with athletes and people who exercise a lot. Yeah, that’s not me. I think my heart is just pacing itself. You know, like a runner who’s in it for the long haul. And I’m really in no hurry to reach the finish line anyway.

Of course, we can take that to an extreme sometimes. It’s one thing to start everything like a jackrabbit and peter out halfway through the first lap, but it’s easy to start off so slowly we never really get in stride. Sure, everyone else is taking a breather because they sped off too quickly, but they’re still way ahead of us. At some point, we need to pick up the pace.

As we’ve discussed in a lot of topics, it’s not hard to pick up the pace at work. You’ve got somebody standing behind you (literally or figuratively) expecting you to do the job in half the time anyone else could, and they control the paychecks. We know the consequences of moving too slowly. Nobody needs to spell it out. But what about when it’s something for you?

In my business, some things take a little practice. You practice until you’ve got the steps committed to memory, and then run with it. Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But sometimes we get so caught up in dress rehearsals that we never actually take the stage. We’re still just “getting good at it.”

Ever heard of analysis paralysis? It’s what happens when we sit back and analyze something to the point we never actually step out and start doing something productive. Oh, we know exactly how we’ll handle any situation that arises. That’s committed to memory. The problem is, situations never arise because we’re still sitting there thinking about it.

Then, when we finally do get started, we feel that overwhelming urge to take it slow. Why? Because, according to our analysis, it’s only a matter of time until something goes wrong. We have to go slowly so we don’t blow right past it. Mistakes must be corrected. They taught us that in kindergarten. Slow and easy wins the race. Remember that one?

Well, slow and easy keeps you pretty much in pace with everybody else around you. You take a step, they take a step. Everybody takes a step. We’re all moving, but nobody is getting ahead. And even if it’s not a competition to see who can get there first, you already know what happens when you stick with the crowd. By the time everybody gets there, all the good stuff is gone.

The only way to step ahead of the crowd (and that much closer to your dreams) is to pick up the pace. Sure, do some analysis. Practice. But put a date on the calendar and commit to it – “No matter what, I will get started on this day. I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t need to plan out every contingency. I’ll do what I need to do and handle challenges as they arise.”

And once you get started, get moving. Set a pace – a steady rhythm of doing the things you need to do every day to bring you closer to your goal. You may not beat everybody else to the finish, but you’ll get there just the same. And odds are you’ll pass a lot of dropouts along the way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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