I am so embarrassed to admit this, but over the summer I was caught speeding.
I knew my lead foot would get me in to trouble at some point but I am constantly running late. Always. Like the song says;
Not like it's in my control, not like I'm proud of the fact; but anything other than being exactly on time I can do!
(I wonder how many of you type-A types have a slight muscle spasm going in your right eye at the mere thought of being late?!)
But my being late is pretty legendary. Even my most on-time-turning-up-early-perfectionist-type-A friends have grown used to this and don't expect me to arrive until 10-15 minutes after I've said I'll be there.
So why am I always so late?
One version is that I am such a relentless optimist that I underestimate the effect to things that can interfere, like other traffic and diversions. I read it in some kind of psychological study once and immediately thought that that sounded like me.
It's also often been because I cram so damn much in that I've either been multitasking 12 different ways at once (mascara at the traffic lights? Dropping post off on the way to the event and responding to emails once I've parked?) or I've been so exhausted that I've only dragged myself out of bed/off the sofa at the very last moment.
I mean, you can't work 60+ hour weeks every week and still be at peak performance, can you?
So this past Friday I had to attend a speed awareness course. I turned up fully expecting to sit there and sleep with my eyes open for four hours, but something the trainer said really piqued my attention.
The trainer was talking about the relationship between reducing speed and saving money and pointed out that:
- In an average motorway journey, you can expect to add 10-15 minutes for every 100 miles of your journey, to respond to traffic, accidents etc.
- Travelling at 80mph instead of 70mph over 100 miles would get you to your destination a maximum of 10 minutes faster, not taking into account lost time but would cause a 25% increase in fuel consumption throughout the journey.
Why does this matter?
It got me to thinking about the speed at which we carry out our daily lives and just how much we try to cram in and speed up in order to do it.
When you have a busy day at work you try to multitask, do everything at once and at speed. You'll travel at 80mph but the increased pace leaves you stressed and depletes your energy even more quickly.
You end up reaching the destination- but barely any further ahead than you would have been had you taken breaks and worked on a single task at a time - and you are likely far more stressed, tired and feeling lost or incapable as a result.
I realised that the stats this course leader was quoting at me were in fact the principles that I had been trying to live by for years now; that I had been trying to erase the peaks and troughs of energy and hopelessness, a constant manic acceleration and exhausted deceleration that had left my health at an all-time low and my career floundering.
I also saw just how much support is needed to make successful changes; just as the course leader talked of advanced driving courses that took months to complete I talk to you about making changes with support, guidance and someone to keep you accountable.
That's exactly what each of us needs in order to keep on track, even during the most difficult and unexpected circumstances that would otherwise put us back where we started.
So, my question to you: are you ready lift your foot from the accelerator and start living with more ease and flow; or are you going to keep going until you get caught and pay the penalty?