It’s been said that we are a culture of crisis management, fire drill chasing individuals. Who can argue with that assessment when we are a culture who answers the question “how are you?” with things like:
Busier than a one armed paperhanger
Up to my neck in alligators
Busier than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs
Admittedly, most of these sayings stem from a Southern household perhaps in Alabama where someone has actually SEEN a one armed paperhanger or in Florida where you can literally wade among alligators, but the point is we wear busy-ness as a badge of honor. So much so, it seems that we should all be equipped with one ginormous fire extinguisher attached at the ready to our person at all times. And even more so it seems that a mere single canister of fire extinguishing fluid, whatever is in those elusive red canisters with a hose, might not do the trick. Should we all go to auction and buy a big red fire truck?
Or, should we perhaps take stock in the list of 750 things that we put on our list of things to do “today” and realize that it is WE who ignite our stress level causing us to run around like a man, woman, or manager with our hair on fire in desperate need of water?
Why do we run around frantically searching for that which will extinguish the very stress that we created? Wouldn’t it just be easier to put down the matches, or the proverbial pen that continues to add to the list and just avoid the whole feeling of flipping out all together? Sure it would be, but it’s awfully hard to relax when you see yourself as the cat scurrying through a maze of rocking chairs in a room in which there are 300 clocks all about to chime the deadline reminding you that your time is limited, your efforts are how fast you can run, how quickly you can dodge the curved wildly swinging rocker, and how agile you can be at tucking your tail. Okay, that visual is just funny, but maybe it’s because I have a cat!
So, today, either find the auction where fire trucks are sold, gather the folks in your office and go buy you one OR lead the way in toning it down a notch. 30 things on your list that are doable will get done better, faster, and with greater precision than 750 things on your list that you constantly reassess realizing there’s no way, no how they’re actually going to happen. Who needs THAT kind of stress?
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.