I’m trying to squeeze several lives into one lifetime. That’s how it would seem if I explained all my interests, hopes, dreams and goals. An advisor correctly observed, “Kelene, you need to be challenged.” Many people don’t understand it, and some people judge it as a negative. It’s not negative, it’s just my flow.
Everyone has a different pace of life at which they are comfortable – a different flow. Some people, like me, seek challenges. We like to collect experiences and see new places. We like to learn new things and achieve mastery of what we learn. There are those of us who like to take it easy, who like to find balance, achieve an equilibrium. Some of us prefer to not have our feathers ruffled, and cannot understand the manic quest for success and the need to have more, do more, see more. Rather some of us want less, preferring to keep it simple.
It’s just how we’re wired and it’s important to be true to ourselves. If you like balance and quiet, you will not be happy climbing the corporate ladder or keeping up with frantic schedules. If you like to keep it moving you will not be happy seeking a quiet, uncomplicated, meditative life. Furthermore, we all find it hard to understand people who have a faster or slower flow than ours.
Those with a faster flow consider the person who doesn’t have big ambitions, who seems to be going nowhere in life, to be lazy. In fast flowing impatience they want to shake them up, tell them that life is going by and they’re going to miss the ride. They call them deadbeats, unmotivated. Those with the slower flow say that the person who is running around seeking more and more and more are superficial, trying to fill their emptiness with worldly things. They say they have no balance, or put worth in empty career achievement and success.
Rather than judge each other’s flows, let’s appreciate each other’s differences. The fast flowing individual can learn how to unwind, relax, have fun from a slow flowing friend. The slow flowing person can learn to set goals and get things done with motivation from their fast flowing friend. Balance cannot be found in one, or the other. Balance is to be found in both. Balance is when we love and accept ourselves and, to the same extent, love and accept others. Balance is when we can both meet the challenge of this fast-paced world, and step out of the traffic and take it easy when we need to.
This sort of acceptance is also a good way to approach how you work with others. We all know the person who is too easygoing and we all know the workaholic. Rather than force them to work at your pace, work with their strengths. Don’t undermine their flow, because the greatest genius comes out of one’s flow. The slow flow person may be great at planning the company retreat or social activities. The fast flow person can handle the logistics of the annual company dinner. The fast flow person is ideal for that time-sensitive project. The slow flow person can be brilliant working on the long-term project that will strengthen your company’s future.
Know your flow, its strengths and weaknesses. Understand that your way is not the only way. Understand that someone who works differently from you is not fundamentally flawed or living empty lives. They are just full of a different type of energy. We benefit from the fast-paced achievers and the slow-paced seekers equally in this world. Rather than judge, respect and appreciate. There’s a place in this world for all of us.
What's your flow?