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#23: What Happens When We Rush?

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Suri talks about the unintended pitfalls we encounter, when we get into the habit of rushing through our day. What can we observe? And how can we make rushing – optional. 


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TRANSCRIPT – edited for clarity

INTRO: Hi again, welcome to Episode 23 of Doing Things on Purpose with me Suri Stahel. This podcast is where I share my thoughts as a wife and mother of two – looking to empower parents to rediscover meaning and joy in their lives again. Beginning with  small steps of taking charge of their time, health, relationships, and money, by doing things on purpose. 

MOM CHECK-IN: Now let’s get straight to the all important mom check in.

Because you know and I know, that we can’t begin to do any of these things, if we’re running on empty. So today’s mom check-in is a simple: How are ya’ll doing? 

I heard this beautiful statement last week, which I thought would be perfect for us to use as a check in question for ourselves. It’s:

How do I feel? What do I need?

Because I can sit here and say, do your yoga, start a  journal, try gardening, try this, try that. Because those are all the things that have worked for me. 

But I don’t know your life. I don’t know what you need. But you do. 

  • Maybe you’re feeling emotionally dysregulated and you just need a five-minute break, a cup of tea, hot chocolate with marshmallows, a long walk, or even a warm bath.
  • Maybe you’re overwhelmed and confused, and need to sleep on it, before you make that big decision, answer that Mail or reply to that Text that’s been bothering you all day.
  • Maybe you need to get out of your head and play-ball with the kids for a while.
  • Maybe you’re feeling fragile and just need to ask for a simple, reassuring hug. 

All of this can be acts of self care. The act of noticing, and giving ourselves what we need. 

So again, whenever life feels too much. Stop and ask yourself: How do I feel? What do I need? And give it to yourself.

And if you don’t know where to start? Take a deep breath in and think… cool air in. Then a deep breath out… hot air out.

When we rush…

This week, I’ve been thinking about the things that happen when we rush. 

Of course everyone’s different, some people absolutely thrive on pressure and stress. Until of course they don’t.

But I’ve noticed this in myself, and also in others that I work or volunteer with – that rushing, is more often than not, counterproductive.

Every parent can probably relate to rushing to get the kids ready in the morning. To get them to brush their teeth, take a bath, be in their pajamas and then in bed at an acceptable hour. 

At work, we’re rushing to create content, meet project deadlines, finish a proposal or submit a report.

Because we live in an outcome-focused, productivity-based society. We feel that the more we do, the more we accomplish – the more successful and fulfilled we’ll feel. 

We believe thoughts like:

  • If I don’t get this done immediately, it’s not going to get done. So it has to be NOW.
  • If I can only get this thing off my plate as soon as humanly possible, it’ll all be okay and I can finally relax. 

But it’s not always that easy, is it?

How Does Rushing Affect You?

First of all, if we stop and ask ourselves the question: How has all this rushing affected me? We can start to notice some telling patterns.

I certainly can, in myself, when I’m rushing. Again everybody’s answer will be different. 

But notice…

How does rushing affect my body, my feelings, my thoughts, my actions, my energy, my focus, my inner intentions, my communication style, and of course, my effectiveness in completing the task that I’m trying to rush through?

🤯 For many of us, rushing feels overwhelming. Like we’ve gone in over our heads, and we can’t think straight. We feel like we’re balancing three spinning plates and hoping that it all doesn’t crash down and break. 

🌡️ Our feelings get dysregulated, we get angry quickly and we disengage with our caring, understanding selves. It’s almost like we become a machine and not a person anymore.

🔥 Our thoughts start to become harsher, more judgemental of others – how they’re not fast enough or good enough. And we start making quick assumptions about what’s going on, and what others are thinking and doing. 

⏱️ We feel we have to, because we don’t have time to ask questions. We’ve gotta work with what we ‘think’ we know, right now. 

😰 Our focus becomes laser sharp. To. Get. Things. Done.

🏆 We’re only focused on completion, a set outcome. And we kinda stop caring about who we have to intimidate, manipulate, or bulldoze into doing that. 

🫵 In other words: We stop seeing people as people. Because right now, for our purpose, we need them to be machines too. We need them to get things done.

And how does this effect our energy?

💪 It starts to feel hot, it expands, because we’ve got to stand in our power. We start to dominate, we become more curt in our communication, more directive, and less open and collaborative.

Where does all this rushing get us? 

 Yes, after we’ve gotten our kids to bed, our partner to do the dishes, and our co-workers to finish the report – what do we come out with, on the other side? 

 A feeling of relief? Sure. We’re glad that the stress is finally over. But what else?

❌ Maybe a work that’s done, but messy, overcomplicated, and full of unnecessary mistakes? Because the truth is, elegance and simplicity takes time.

💥 Maybe we ended the day with a more strained relationship with our kids, our partners or our co-workers?

🦍 And probably we’ll also notice a slightly overinflated ego. That sense of accomplishment. That, ‘Yes! I got it done.’ “I” made it happen! Which somehow nobody else seems to appreciate… So it feels like a hollow-win. 

So what’s a person to do?

Get on the slow train

For those of you noticing all these things bubbling inside of you. You’re definitely a person who doesn’t thrive on rushing or adrenaline – like me.

So what’s another way to think about productivity and the art of getting things done? Again, without much rushing around or pushing. 

How would it feel like if we just allowed ourselves, and others, even a little more time to do things? A realistic amount of time.

And we can be clear on that.

Because if we’re honest, usually, our deadlines are soft deadlines. In many cases they’re self-determined or at least something we’ve agreed to, without thinking much about it. 

  • So the first thing we can be clear about, is to take full ownership of noticing when things get too much for us. Don’t expect that to come from our kids, our spouse, our boss, our friends or our co-workers. Because they don’t know us like we do.
  • When we’re pros at knowing ourselves, we can start to notice it in other people – when something’s too much for them.
  • Practice being brave and clear to others about what we need. Or about what others might need.
  • Start to play around with being more flexible, to accommodate each situation that arises. When things don’t go the way we initially wanted them to – which is most of the time. 

Because in the end, it really doesn’t matter what exactly happens, or doesn’t happen. Fortunately, most things we do are far from life and death situations, although it might seem to be super critical at that point in time.

I get it.

But we can step back, and realize that we can only do our best, and trust that others do too.

We can choose to remember that people always come first (including ourselves). When we prioritize our meaningful relationships, the ‘how’ to move forward, can often quickly become clear to us. 

💗 It becomes easier for us to show up from a place of patience, kindness, compassion and courage.

🙅‍♀️ I’m not talking about people pleasing or being a doormat here.

I’m talking about the ultimate human relations skill, of truly learning to get along, that I think we’re sorely lacking in today’s fast paced society.

Because we weren’t taught this. 

Therapists, social workers, educators and coaches are taught this – the art of building positive rapport, how to motivate, encourage and support one another.

All important things in relationships, and of course in getting things done.

If rushing isn’t working for you… 

💎 Why not shift gears and try taking that extra five to ten minutes to be fully present, lighthearted and unrushed with your kids, before they leave for school?

💎 Why not take an extra night, to sleep over that difficult email or proposal, and look at it again tomorrow, before sending it out?

💎 Why not ask yourself, is this really the right time to tackle this? Am I too early? Can this wait?

The skillful leader knows that rushing things that can wait, just to get things off their plate, often leads to confusion and unnecessary stress.

It is both kinder and much more effective to know when to act, and when to wait

My take on the whole thing? Look within.

In an increasingly confused, muddled up world, moving at an ever-increasing pace – we always need to be mindful of returning back to our center. 

We need to practice looking within, and learning skills to release all that hot air, when rushing starts to overcome us – however that practice may look like, for you. 

We need to learn to land and ground again, in our own sense of humanity, as often and as best as we can. I think for both our sake, and the sake of every person we interact with.

Because we are not machines.

🌈 We’re beautiful, colorful, imperfect, surprising humans.

Let’s return full-circle, back to the question: 

  • How do I feel and what do I need? 
  • Can we extend that to how does he/she feel, and what do they need?
  • Or how does this situation feel, and what does it need?

Such powerful questions to ask ourselves to positively influence how we move and interact with the world, and in our most treasured relationships. 

It might just teach us to enjoy ‘the doing’ a lot more, instead of focusing on the finishing.

Need support?

That’s all I have for you today – something to think about. I hope this has been helpful if you’re suffering from the wide-spread affliction called ‘Rushing’.  

 If you enjoyed today’s episode, consider sharing it with a friend. 

 And I want to thank you again for listening to Doing Things on Purpose, with me Suri. I’ll catch you again next time.

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