“Ma’am, this is your time, take it, you don’t have to rush” ….
the words said to me by the check-out associate as the pressured feeling to pack my groceries quickly set in after glancing at the line behind me.
As I left the store those 12 words began replaying in my mind and forced an examination of the impact (inability to thoughtfully pack my grocery bags) of the moment. Ultimately, the experience led to a deep discussion with my favorite person in life, my twin sister, Claire or Dr. C as she’s known in professional circles. After Claire brilliantly (wish you were there!) explained how our brains and bodies may react under stress, the discussion shifted to how the insistence on anchoring the “hurried mindset” often has devastating impacts on people and businesses.
So, what’s the rush? Admittedly, there isn’t a definitive answer as individual experiences will drive responses; however, in reflecting on all that’s happened around the world in these first 74 days of 2023, and with particular focus on the recent collapse of a well-known banking institution, we can’t help but wonder what the outcome might have been if along the way decision makers had paused before acting. While the collapse is of course more layered than pausing, it is a stark reminder that both in business and in life what may be hurting us most is hurry.
The average person is estimated to make upwards of 35,000 decisions each day so it is reasonable to assume that at some point all people (business leaders around the globe included) may eventually experience decision fatigue, “a state of mental overload that can impede a person’s ability to continue making decisions”. Therefore, when people and organizations (*which are made up of people*) insist on anchoring to hurry as a practice, they may be putting themselves, businesses, and employees at risk.
According to the HBR article, ‘Stress Leads to Bad Decisions. Here’s How to Avoid Them’, “our brains are wired to be more reactionary under stress. This can mean that stressed out leaders’ resort to binary choice-making, limiting the options available to them. In tough moments, we reach for premature conclusions rather than opening ourselves to more and better options. Faced with less familiar conditions for which our tried-and-true approaches won’t work, we reflexively counter our natural anxiety by narrowing and simplifying our options”.
Is hurry hurting you? If the collective we of businesses and people were honest with ourselves, we would admit that the answer is often a resounding yes. Knowing what we know about decision fatigue, the unrealistic expectations others may have of us, and the anxiety that the pressure to hurry may cause, the question becomes, what’s wrong with waiting? In short, nothing. The ability and leadership (self and business) demonstrated in deciding to pause, knowing when to pause, when to investigate, and when to say no to allow an overtaxed brain time to rest and reset is equally as important as knowing when to act decisively.
Our goal with every Gem (stand alone essay), Gemisode (essay series), or #GemAlert (additional insights) dropped is and will always be to educate and provoke thought which leads to action. In that spirit, we want to take this moment to inform some and remind others that it is ok to pause, ok to slow down, ok to stop all together.
It will ALWAYS be ok to center your self-care needs at any given moment.
If you need a helpful way to begin putting into practice what we’re calling “P.A.U.S.E”, here’s the commitment we made to each other as we continue building our business with our wellness in mind:
- P: exercising patience for yourself, others, and the situation will be required
- A: assess your mental and emotional capacity for the moment
- U: be unashamed about pausing and remember that your decision will not only impact you
- S: suspend decision making for a minimum of 24 hrs. especially when feeling pressured
- E: empower yourself by empowering and supporting others when they need a pause
To learn more about how we can help you or your organization engage in more thoughtful approaches to personal and business optimization, contact us here.