My normal mode is “Go”! With occasional bouts of “Slow” and rarely do I “Stop” when I have a task or a goal. I’m always the first one with an answer, and it has been the wrong answer on more than one occasion. I don’t mind being wrong, but that pause for thought has never been my forte. Stopping to reflect, think, and consider all of the outcomes is not for meetings or classrooms and I always reserved it for papers. Even with those I’m not always great with the follow through. My cohort from grad school will tell you that one of my least favorite exercises was reflecting. At the end of the second year I was so tired of reflecting that I stopped looking in mirrors. (I heard that groan!)
Now I’m several months into my first professional position and I’m learning more about “Slow” and “Stop”. Slow is coming much easier than stop. I’m understanding why reflection is so important. When tasked with an assignment I have had a tendency to focus on the green light I’ve been given to accomplish something. I’m driving headlong into the research and planning. After a disastrous crash recently I’ve put a yellow post-it note above my monitor as a reminder that I need to slow down and consider the outcomes I want to achieve, what influences are at play, and who the major stakeholders are. I have to – ugh – reflect! The unbelievable thing is that in a moment of self-reflection I felt the shift from my normal green light mode to caution of a yellow light. The shift must have been significant because someone recently prefaced a question with “You are pretty introspective . . .” . Which of course made me snort, hopefully silently.
I’m still working on Stop. Stop taking work home with me, in more than one sense of the phrase. Stop saying negative things. Stop being cynical. Stop getting caught-up in the politics. I’m afraid the Stop list will eventually be longer than the Go list.
But for now, I’m just going to focus on Slow. Thinking, reflecting, and hopefully writing more.
Image by flickr user your_wht_knight / CC Licensed