Why does my fast pace distance others?

     When our kids were young, our family invested in one vacation every year. Most of these vacations were camping at the Oregon Coast or in the Redwood Forest, and there were a few trips to Disneyland. Since we lived in Washington and our budget was limited, driving was usually the desired mode of transportation. I was like the main character in the movie, The Great Santini, making sure that we had a schedule and that we stuck to the “schedule.” That meant no lingering when we stopped for gas or food. I was quite the enforcer.

     In fact, one time when we visited my sister, she informed me that we had arrived late at her house, to which I gave her a funny look. She told me that I said I would be there at 9:10, and we didn’t get there until 9:21 (I remember it specifically because she was quick to point out the time!). What I actually told her was that we would be there around 9 or 10, but she was so used to me having an exact time that her mind processed my statement differently than I meant it. This is how those of us who are driven appear to others; we are task masters with a strict timetable.

Are you a "driver"?

     My desire to meet a schedule was part of being a “driver.” It also meant that I was often clueless to those around me. Several years ago I took an Emotional Intelligence test. The purpose of the test is to see how aware you are of how people respond to the things you do and say. I scored “okay,” which indicated I needed to improve. This was difficult for me at the time, as it is for others who are natural drivers. We just want to get things done and accomplish our goals quickly. Doing life this way means that we don’t take the time to observe how others are responding. But I’ve learned and am learning the importance of slowing down to take inventory of how my words and actions are affecting those around me. Slowing down has allowed me to interpret the look on someone’s face when I’m not communicating effectively. Blank stares and inquisitive looks allow me to readjust and formulate better words and phrases. Slowing down has helped me to not only hear the words that others say but also to listen to the meaning behind those words.

Consider a slower pace.     

     Maybe you are a fast-paced person who is driven. You get much accomplished, but you are unaware of how people around you are responding. I would urge you to slow down and become more aware of your surroundings and how your actions are affecting those around you.

     Start setting a schedule that benefits you and your followers. One that allows for you to slow down to meet the needs of your team while also accomplishing your tasks and goals.

Helpful next steps.

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