Groove: Making the Most of Your Personal Pace.



Culture Fuel From the Trail series

This series of posts is inspired by our recent 6-day section hike of the Appalachian Trail, which you can read more about here. Each of these posts offers an insight from our experience on the trail that applies to life and leadership. Enjoy!

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
— Henry David Thoreau

It was our last night on the trail, and over our freeze-dried Mountain House dinner of "Chicken and White Bean Chili" (which was surprisingly good!), we talked about what our trip had been like...what we had learned, what we might do differently next time. "I think I'd like to plan a little more flex-time into our trip so we can stop and enjoy the scenery more when we come to overlooks," I offered. "That's interesting," Kellie replied, "I was thinking the opposite. I was thinking it would be fun to push a little harder and go for some longer-mileage days." Huh. Next?

Actually, this led to an insightful conversation about our relative hiking styles, and once we got home, we began to play with an idea where, for our next segment in June, I may drop Kellie off at one point and drive to another point--allowing her to stretch for a 20-miler while I hike in for maybe 5 miles, set up camp, and enjoy some downtime before she powers in for the night. Our takeaway? She finds her transcendence in motion; I find mine in stillness. And while at times we each compromise for the good of the other, it's important to find our own groove. Here's the real-world application:

  1. Name it. Just last week Kellie asked me, "So what does your hiking pace say about your living and working pace?" Wow. Powerful question. Are you a speed demon or slow and methodical? Or are you more spontaneous--taking whatever pace inspires you in the moment? Do you thrive on variety--you're happy as long as it's different than it was yesterday. I invite you to name your pace and discuss it with someone you trust.
  2. Explore it. Once you've done that, the next question is why. Why am I drawn to that pace? Your motivation might be more joy-driven or fear-driven, more about authenticity or about pleasing others, more about testing yourself or proving yourself (which are different, by the way). This part of the conversation might suggest shifts toward greater alignment.
  3. Craft it. And now you get to do something about it. To craft an environment--to the extent of your ability--that plays to your best personal space. If you set aside the assumptions about how your life or work "ought" to look (which in our culture default to breakneck speed), what changes could you make that would help you be your most authentic, joyful self?

Find your groove...and enjoy it. Or as Howard Thurman put it, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Posted on May 20, 2014 .