Mental Models; Personal Mastery; Systems Thinking

I regret less the road not taken than my all-fired hurry along the road I took.
Robert Brault


Hurrying is a habit, one I seem to have cultivated to a fine art. I’m always hurrying to get a lot of things done before I hurry somewhere to do a lot of other things. When I’m hurrying, I often miss things. I know this because every now and then I slow down. The other day when my friend Sallie invited me to take an early morning stroll through the Village of Sewickley, where we live. There were so many new shops and beautiful flowers I hadn’t noticed on my nearly daily drives through this village I was amazed! I have to ask myself, What else am I missing?

The answer came from my 16 month old granddaughter, Fianna. A couple of weeks ago I was taking care of Fianna, which is one of my favorite things in the world. After we’d eaten and played awhile and had some milk, it was time to go to bed. I rocked her and put her in the crib, and she screamed. I picked her up and rocked her a bit more, then put her back and she cried again. I suddenly realized I had gotten done with playing with Fianna and moved on in my head, hurrying to some quite unimportant task that called me. I picked her up and smiled, and said to her out loud, “There’s no where I’d rather be than with you.” And I sat in the rocker and loved her with all my heart. I was just right there with her, not in my office. And she fell asleep in a nanosecond.

Sometimes the hurrying habit is so strong, I forget what’s really important to me. Annie Lamott says, “Be where your feet are.” When I’m hurrying, I am always on my way to somewhere else. Not right where my feet are.


Have you ever tried to hurry others? I have. The recipients of my hurrying strategies have mostly been husbands and children. The results are almost always the same – they slow way down! One time when Gordon was in the 2nd grade and not wanting to get up for school, I physically got him up and dressed him, chiding all the while about how we needed to hurry. By the time I had gone into the other room for something, he had hurriedly put his pjs back on and was snuggled in bed with the blankets pulled up when I returned. When I think about how it must be to live with me – someone who hurries so much – it makes me tired.


Yesterday I was driving into Pittsburgh when a car whizzed past me. He darted in behind one car after another, weaving to get wherever he was going faster. I was amused to notice when we got to a stop light several miles down the road that he was right in front of me. All that hurrying had not given him an edge. Maybe he enjoyed it, or it made him feel important, or maybe it made him anxious…..I don’t know. Lao Tzu said something worth pondering: Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.




  1. If you have the hurrying habit, how can you slow it down just enough to notice more?

  2. How could you be where your feet are more often?

  3. Consider this quote from Cheryl Richardson, To do what you really, really want, you may have to say “no” to what you really want. What might you say “no” to?

  4. Swear off hurrying for one day. Do everything slightly slower. See if, like in nature, everything is still accomplished.


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the more deeply the habit and implications of hurrying.  Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)  1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583.  No need to register….just call at that time!


Read an excerpt from Liberating Greatness, the Whole Brain Guide to an Extraordinary Life, the book Hal and I wrote, at

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone. Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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