As a recovering rusher, I feel you — a sense of urgency can be addictive.
There are theories that our endocrine systems get calibrated to heightened cortisol or body-generated substances at a young age. Imagine a small child in a “high performing” school who wants to go play but is told that for their own good they should study more. As a tiny tyke, this directive could de-calibrate your nervous system and set off a flood of scarcity chemicals pretty quickly.
Hurry up and succeed.
Hurry up and generate more business.
Hurry up and make more money.
Hurry up and prove your worth.
Hurry up and get validated by others.
Do you see human-centered design anywhere in that narrative? I can’t seem to find it.
Some people seem to think that executives have figured this all out. From experience, that’s not at all true. That’s because calibrating to your own sense of success is a slow process. So is systems change — whether in organizational culture or larger societal culture. Because when you plant a seed in yourself, the bloom will take a hot minute to reveal its full, delicious visage and aroma. And the same is true with systems change.
As the phrase goes, “They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.”
Change happens in an instant. Integrating that change so it has roots in the ground takes a little while. That’s a good thing — it’s where endurance, longevity, and legacy come from.
One of the tried and true practices of systems change is focusing on what we want. What if, instead of focusing on the burying part, we focus on the gestating, germinating, growing part? What if we fantasize and luxuriate in the full, vibrant revelation that is blooming?
There doesn’t seem to be confusion about human pregnancy taking a while. And when the kiddo is born, no one wonders why they can’t walk on day 3. Sometimes success is about re-calibration to tempo and to what success means, both in general and for the deepest, truest desires you have.
For orgs, this might mean backing slowly away from the usual metrics. What do you actually want to impact, improve, and prove?
For orgs and individuals alike … you want to be impressive? You want progress? Calibrate to your own bloom.