Are You Rushing?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

It all seems to move too fast for me. I remember a slower time, a different era. Many days I miss it. However, I cannot go back – and neither can anyone else. It is different today. It is very fast.

My days are often packed with back-to-back meetings, calls, emails, and a host of distractions. Some evenings, I reflect back on my day and it all seems like a blur. Do you sometimes have this feeling too? If so, you’re living the norm. According to a recent Gallup poll, most people feel rushed and hurried during their days. Most of us want a slower life. So, how do we get one?

We slow down – and find flow. I know it isn’t easy, but it is possible. As the great UCLA Bruin coach, John Wooden, would say, “hurry but don’t rush!” And, he seems to be a good guide after winning 10 NCAA Basketball Championships. So, what does it mean to hurry but not rush? When we are rushed we make mistakes, tasks take longer, and we miss out on so much around us. Have you ever had the feeling of moving fast, yet feeling stuck in slow motion? They have a word for this – flow. When we are in flow we are moving at the right pace and getting a lot done. Find flow and you can hurry and not rush. You can excel without going crazy. Find flow and you can be both happy and successful.

Flow is achieved when you enjoy what you do and get lost in it. Have you ever looked at your watch and suddenly realized the time has flown by but it seems like you had just started? You were calm, operating effectively, and getting an amazing amount of work done. You were in flow. You now can determine your formula for flow in your life. I am convinced we can all find it. Once we have discovered how to do it, we can repeat it again and again. Let me tell you about one of my flow experiences.

My favorite flow experiences are when I am with other people in private conversations. I can get lost for minutes or hours when I am in this state. It is in these moments we jointly begin to imagine a different future. I usually find the future when I am with someone and I am listening well—and they are listening well, too.  Then we can build on the ideas we are sharing together. I have seen amazing new outcomes result from these simple sharing sessions. One such session was with Charlie Borgognoni, the former Executive Director of the CNY School Boards Association (CNYSBA).

Charlie approached me with an idea of working together. We had an initial conversation – and we were in flow. We dreamed what working together might mean. We talked about MACNY and CNYSBA. We spent a good hour together and yet it seemed like only minutes. That day we created the affiliation between MACNY and CNYSBA – we just didn’t know it yet. Two years later our boards have signed an agreement to affiliate and create the workforce of the future for our region! This is what flow can do for you – and everyone around you!

Do you know how to create flow in your life? Can you learn to slow down so you can hurry but not rush? Can you help others discover their own flow experiences and how to recreate them when they most need or want to? Make this new year one of flow. It will offer you both success and greater satisfaction.