One of my voice clients recently confessed to her habit of “scurrying” – which I interpret as meaning rushing when there is no need to rush, going fast out of habit, and bringing a sense of urgency to non-critical things.
I’m a scurrier-hurrier, too. It’s a family trait that I witness in many of my relatives. My brother Ross’s pace makes me look downright laconic. When I visiting him and his family over the holidays, he came down with a bug that made him feel lousy. As I watched him drag himself through the living room at a snail’s pace, it made me realize just how fast he generally moves.
I’ve been exploring the tension between anxious rushing and the joyful vigor of efficient work for a long time. I like bringing a little hustle to making dinner. It feels like dancing when I’m bringing some good energy to chopping, stirring, tasting, and cleaning up the dishes as I go. (Yes, I am that person.)
I know I grew up watching my mom strive for efficiency. She was raising three kids and working full time by the time I was in kindergarten. On top of doing that job, she handled all of the cooking, shopping, and cleaning without any support from Dad. Those were the norms of her generation. No wonder she was rushing.
I don’t have that kind of responsibility, but I am a self-employed sole proprietor who handles all of the details of the business on my own. I do high level work like coaching clients, creating training designs, and composing keynotes one minute. The next finds me running to the post office, updating my website, and booking airline tickets. Knowing how to hustle, juggle, and make rapid shifts comes in handy for this life I’m living.
Here’s what I’ve learned about scurrying. When I’m feeling pleasure and breathing, it’s a great thing. When I’m tight and anxious, it’s time to pause and downshift.
When I got in my car yesterday, the stereo spontaneously started playing a song through my phone. It does that sometimes – just offers a song without my asking. This time if was one of mine – “Rat Race” – a piece I wrote many years ago when I was struggling with the habit of haste. Given the conversation and reflection about scurrying, its unexpected appearance made me laugh out loud.
Take a listen to the song. Meanwhile, I wish you pleasure and breath in whatever you do in 2017.