It’s no secret that pacing is essentially to influencing. If you do the right thing, at the wrong time you will get an undesired result. Pacing isn’t just about timing, it’s about meeting someone where they are so that you can help them to move forward, wherever forward means for them.
But what about ourselves? Do we, as leaders of our own lives, take the time to pace ourselves to ensure a positive outcome for ourselves?Living in an excessive performance driven culture leaves little room to assess if we are pushing in the right place, for the right reasons, or if it’s time to ease off on the gas pedal.
Through excessive performance driven behaviours, I have learned how important it is to pace myself. Time after time, the world of sports and fitness serves as the best example for vital concepts we could benefit from applying in our own personal lives. Ask a marathon runner how important it is that he paces himself if he wishes to even just complete his mission.
The other night, in what would be the third round of my recent wall climbing adventures, I saw how pushing before pacing doesn’t necessarily render positive results. My climbing buddy and I decided that our first wall of the evening would straight up be a tougher one than we’d ever tried. Harness on, ropes knotted, I took my first step on a seemingly harmless inclined wall. I made it past the first reverse incline but not without struggling really hard. I wasn’t warmed up, my legs weren’t leading the way they normally do when I feel self assured on a climb. One third of the way up, I was shaky, tired, insecure, afraid even. When the height normally bothers me so little, especially this early on into a climb, I now felt filled with fear, unable to press forward. I asked to be taken down. Back on the floor, tail between my legs, I felt so disappointed in myself. What was wrong with me? How could I be so weak, so chicken. Bummer.My partners turn, huffing and puffing, determined to make it up, he made it three quarters of the way and asked to be taken down as well. I was floored, come hell or high water – this man gets to the finish line. What were we doing wrong?
And then we went down 2 notches to a much easier wall. Easy breezy, we almost snored our way through. Moving on to one notch higher in difficulty – wow, did my mojo kick in or what. I came down from that climb feeling like an invincible superstar. This girl is on fire!!
And then it hit me, as I looked back at the reverse incline – we didn’t even start we were, we went straight to the challenge without getting in sync with our own abilities. Zero pacing. And where did we end up? Defeated.
A marathon runner will only cause his own defeat if he pushes to soon to fast. If you’re lifting weights and you add too much before you’re ready, you run the risk of injury and setback. In your business, in your relationships, in your growth – if you want to ensure your own success – you must learn the art of starting where you are and building from there. You’re only tripping over yourself when you push yourself without noticing your current force, skill, ability and then reaching a little further. Pace first, then lead. Pace as much as you need, so then when you finally step up to lead, you’re strong, solid and ready.