I was on a day out walking with my family at the weekend, and something my 7 year old said struck a chord with me. As we were walking along, my husband and eldest child started striding ahead and quite quickly were a fair way ahead of us. I was at the back with the 2 younger ones, and I turned to them and said, “come on, we need to keep up.” Well, my 7 year old son who was quite happy at the back picking up sticks and finding unusual shaped rocks looked up at me and said, “why?” It immediately dawned on me that he was right. Why should we keep up with those out in front? Why don’t we all just go at our own pace and enjoy what we are doing? He was quite happy where he was, and as a result, so was everyone else around him. If I had made him walk quicker and stop what he was doing, he would not have enjoyed the walk and it would have become difficult and hard work for everyone.
By going at his pace and allowing him time to do what he needed to enjoy the walk, we were all happier. I realised that this is the same for everything we are doing in life. I know I have said many times, “I should be doing something”, or “others have done something quicker or better than me,” but what am I judging those standards by? We all need to go at our own pace and find our own way of enjoying what is going on around us as we navigate our life. Just because someone else has achieved something quicker or seems to be doing “better,” have a think as to the standards you are basing this on. What are you gaining for doing what you are doing and at the pace that you are doing it at? If it isn’t working for you, then yes you need to do something about it, but if it is, enjoy what is going on around you and take the time to appreciate what it is that you are gaining for going at a different pace to others.
There were times on the walk where we stopped to paddle in a stream, and there was a time when we went quickly to get past some cows that started to get a bit too curious, but ultimately we went at our own pace. The ones in front waited for the slower ones at a convenient time to them, and no one felt out of sync as we all enjoyed the walk for the journey that it was. This happens in life too, there are times when we have to stop or slow down, and there are times when it seems that things are moving too quickly, however, we need to consider if the pace is right for us as an individual to deal effectively with what is going on around us. I know that I could push harder in my career when I didn’t have children, but now I do, I need to adjust the pace at which I can develop at work. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to, but if I push on regardless, it is not only me who suffers, but those around me too. There will be times when I can dedicate more to work rather than my home life, but just because someone else seems further ahead than me, doesn’t mean that I should try to keep up. The difficulty is knowing when we are trying to keep up, and when we are ready to challenge our own self. The only advice I can give is to take time to pause and reflect, take time to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Ask yourself the question, is this for my benefit or someone else’s?