It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Let me explain how.
Ambition is an incredible thing. There are so many advantages to it. It provides fuel to catapult your desire for success. It energises and motivates to achieve, create, and accomplish things. It is an internal drive that pushes people to do more. It makes dreams come true. Being around ambitious people, full of passion, excitement, and determination, can be contagious and inspiring.
Just like any strength, overdone becomes a disability. Similarly, untamed ambition can sometimes make people extremely pushy, impatient, and abrasive. It is not always a virtue.
We always hear people say that it is the journey we are here for. The destination is just an indicator to inspire and motivate us to get there. Most people take that journey by staying a little ahead in their minds than where they are at. That causes anxiety. It is a constant tugging to keep pushing forward even when not required. To truly enjoy the journey, slow down, and be present. There is nothing wrong with the desire to succeed and to get ahead in life; in fact, it is a privilege. However, if it is a constant voice in our heads jostling us, it also tends to exhaust us. It depletes us of valuable energy. The result is we don’t feel our best. It manifests in rude and abrasive behaviours, friction, conflicts, and burn out. It leaves you never being satisfied, no matter how well you perform.
Such people are usually very bright and good at what they do. They do not tolerate even small shortcomings in themselves. Think about how they will react to mistakes made by others? Being too hard on yourself does not feel good. Inadvertently, it ends up making you a difficult person to work with. Notice when you are too hard on yourself. Do you judge yourself when things don’t go as planned? Are you criticising yourself without realising it? In that case, you have to practice more self-compassion and self-love.
Two things must happen to overcome the problems associated with moving super fast in your head and always operating from a sense of unnecessary urgency:
Understand the drivers
Try and identify what is driving that restlessness? Often there is a fear of failure or fear of not being good enough below such an aggressive go-getter personality. If it is not tempered with a slight dose of self-awareness, it can lead to a lot of problems and hinder your growth as a leader. At rising leadership levels, it is not about how well or how fast you do things; it is about how good an enabler you are of getting things done through people.
Another reason could be having failed in the past but wanting to succeed so bad that you are worried you have to do all that it takes to get ahead, even step on other people.
Yes, this dynamo live wire doer in you has gotten you far, but will it take you to the next level or deter you? Reflect!
What does slowing down mean?
Any right brain activity helps in slowing down — slowing down essentially means bringing your heart rate down, experiencing calm, and being more present. It is a deeper connection with yourself. Being more than doing is slowing down.
Leadership skills demand the creation of a deeper level of awareness, which can only come when you slow down. Slowing down at least for some periods of time is essential – all highly accomplished leaders do it. If that does not happen, it will lead to more significant unwanted consequences such a health issues, damaged relationships, or embarrassing showdowns. Not to mention the impact all this will have on business and your career.
So how do you slow down?
There are several practices you can do to slow down. Each person must choose whatever works best for them. From meditation to exercise to being with what you genuinely enjoy irrespective of what it will help you achieve is an excellent way to slow down.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but try and it out, and you will understand how slowing down can actually get you to your goals faster.
Views are personal.
The author is the founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners a global Leadership Development company based in Bangalore. She is a Leadership Development Specialist, an ICF Certified Executive Coach [PCC] and author of the book - Team Decision Making.