Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #37
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Chilly morning following the rain
Be Quick – But Don’t Hurry!
– John Wooden
It was a cold, rainy fall afternoon and I was sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting for a plane home to Boise. Exhausted from a long business trip in Europe, and sleep deprived after two flights already that day I had little patience left. My scheduled flight was delayed due to the plane being stuck somewhere else.
I talked to the gate agent about shifting to a later flight, and was assured they were bringing in another plane, and I’d be better off staying on the same flight. As it turned out the plane was available about 60 minutes before the later flight. By coincidence the two flights were scheduled to leave from adjacent gates.
We boarded and as I settled into my seat I noticed the other plane headed to Boise arrive at the gate next to me. Our gate and flight crews were in a hurry to get us all on board and off to Boise. As we pushed back from the gate, and began to prepare for the engine start the pilot announced we were pulling back to the gate. We needed more fuel.
Frustrated by the additional delay I consoled myself, grateful that they caught the fuel shortage before we were in the air. As we pushed back the second time, I could see people boarding the later flight to Boise next to us. Again, before engine start the pilot apologized that we were pulling back to the gate. The bags had not been loaded.
Watching our bags being loaded from my window, I saw the later plane to Boise departing on time. Given the choice of emotions, I was beginning to find humor in the situation, yet unsure about what might happen next.
When we’re stressed, it is easy to fall into hurrying. John Wooden describes it this way: “If you don’t have physical balance, you cannot be quick. To have physical balance, it must be preceded by mental balance and emotional balance. If you don’t have those, you will be hurrying. Then you will have activity without achievement.” (Be Quick – But Don’t Hurry! 2001)
I find when I’m in a hurry, I’m far less effective, which feeds my frustration and can accelerate a downward spiral, like a spinning top losing its momentum. The best way to recover, is to stop and regain my mental, emotional and physical balance. Grounding myself and clarifying my intention and commitments for the current situation help me move forward effectively once again.
I’m grateful my pilots grounded themselves, regained their balance and moved forward effectively. The third time we pushed back, we had a smooth flight to Boise.
Like pilots, we all can benefit from having partners who help us ground, regain our balance, and affirm our intentions and commitments to what we want to achieve.
I partner with executives and professionals to confidently lead in the face of uncertainty and complexity. Together we build trust, and cultivate leadership and organizational effectiveness to create a better future today. To learn more visit here.
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