In real life, the tortoise loses. But in real-real life, beyond work and competition, it pays to know how to slow down to the tortoise’s pace.
Full disclosure: I’ve been the worst at this. I’ve gone full hare-mode, where all I want is to go faster, jump farther ahead, and zip around any obstacle. But in real-real life, slowing down to be present on the journey is more than slowing down to be human, it’s slowing down to be present to humanity. Especially in business, we all need some tortoise talents. If we want to know where the tortoise wins, it’s here. Tortoises win the relationship games.
John Mark Comer has a book titled The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. He says,
Hurry is the issue under all the other issues. The root cause beneath so much of the anger and anxiety of our cultural moment.
When it comes to building and sustaining relationships, “hurry” sweeps the rest of life along. We don’t slow to connect or pause to reflect. We don’t celebrate the small victories let alone really take in the major milestones. We so quickly rush between transactions that even the most personally valuable activities are reduced to items on a checklist. Hurry becomes the dominant denominator in our lives, the root cause of our disconnection, anger, and anxieties. It’s not like this for the tortoise.
The business that competes as a hare wins. It grows market share, expands, and gets to the customers first. But, the business that treats its customers like a patient and deliberate tortoise wins too, we just may not see the same results… at first. There’s a necessary balance and a connection between the two in any long-term successful operation. An organization that understands its tortoise and hare functions has a business AND a human advantage. And this is all before we even touch the balancing act we’ll need for our personal lives.
Speed for the sake of competition is an advantage. Hares win races. Relationship building on a journey is an advantage. Removing hurry and replacing it with a contemplative pace is how tortoises win races. Neither wins all of the time. There’s a time, place, and need for each. It’s up to us to find the balance and not let hurry be the dominant denominator in our businesses or our own lives.
New goal: Be a little bit hare, a little bit tortoise, and a lot of but human.