Tremendously cheesy, I know. Bear with me. I’m feeling sentimental today. I just dropped my son off for his last day of school as a 4th grader. That means one more year in the safety of the Elementary School world and one more year before I send him off into the world of (queue the menacing music…) Middle School.
I looked at H and seriously wondered, “where did the time go?” and “can we stop time just for a little while.” I must have said it out loud because with his trademark grin and twinkle in his eyes, he said, “no, Mom. I have a sleep over tomorrow night.”
What triggered all of this sentimentality for me was not just the ride over on the last day of school, but the music playing on the radio as we traveled. It’s a Beautiful Day — the entire All That You Can’t Leave Behind album — was played over and over and over during my pregnancy with H, to the point that we had it programmed to play (loudly) as we drove to the hospital to deliver him. We really liked it.
I’ve always been in a rush. As a child, I was in a rush to get to school. As a high school student, I was in a rush to get to college. In college, I was in a rush to be “an adult” and begin my life. That tendency to speed through life sets us up to miss things. For those of us on the fast track, until we’re hit with a major occurrence, we don’t stop, or even slow down. We just keep moving forward.
The same applies to business. Whenever we speed through client work to meet deadlines or to get it done, we inevitably make a mistake or miss something. Most of the time (95%, I’d say), it all works out. We’re known for doing a pretty darn good job around here. For me, however, that percentage of error due to speeding through is what bites. It stings. It stings so much, that we’ve now adjusted delivery schedules to accommodate an extra day of review, and putting into place triggers to remind us to double check and to get a set of eyes outside of our own to look at things. It’s worth it. The trick? Making sure everyone, especially the client, understands the importance of slowing it down a bit.
If you were to ask anyone on my team lately what my latest focus is, you’d get a chuckle and the following:
I know I’m a nut job most of the time, but there’s one thing for certain: I value the quality of work that we provide and the skill set possessed by those who deliver it. I value it so much so that I’m indeed obsessed with systems and processes and making sure we’re air tight before crossing over from one level of business growth to the next (that’s the chasm – ask them, I have it drawn on our white board).
I know the systems for my business will get worked out and we’ll make it safely across the chasm. What I worry about even more? Making sure I develop my own system to slow down and soak it up. I want to also recognize that the interruptions along the way…the ones that make me stop my forward motion cold…are the ones that I need to value most. As I was reminded at church on Sunday, it’s in the interruptions that we find discovery. Absolutely.
Many of you know that I have been reminded of how precious life is lately. As a result, I am indeed trying to slow down and enjoy moments. My wish for all of us is this:
Welcome the interruptions that flood in some days and remember that most of the time, it really is a beautiful day.