Too Busy to Succeed?

February 20, 2020

It was the morning of a major leadership conference and I was there early to help the presenters prepare. The stakes for this leadership conference were incredibly high. The presenters only had one day to set the tone for the company’s leadership for the upcoming year, so the company president was adamant about everyone being prepared for their talks.

She thought she had it all figured out.

All she really thought she needed to do was test-fire the slides from her 60-slide presentation. So she stood up on that stage and clicked through them, one slide at a time. Then she walked off the stage and she was done. She was “too busy” to do anything more than that.

When it was time for her to come back up and give her talk to the audience, you can imagine what happened. She got up there and started stammering and stuttering through her slides. She was obviously unprepared. Within seconds, I watched every person in that audience lose interest and start looking at their phones.

She lost them—she lost the attention of the leaders she was depending on to carry her message and vision down through the entire company.

This is what happens when we think we’re too busy to do the work. The “too busy” mindset is a form of self-sabotage that allows us to be dominated by the rat race. We’re all running so hard these days. It’s the grind. The stakes are high and the pressure is even higher. We’re constantly taking care of everyone else, except ourselves. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and easier to repeat the familiar mantra “I’m too busy.” Then we let that mindset dictate the tempo of our day. This is the mindset that keeps us perpetually locked in a “fight, flight or freeze” state all day, every day.

The operational tempo of the rat race will dominate you if you have a mindset that allows it to. You feel like you don’t have time because, with that mindset, you are not in control of your time. I can’t tell you how many of the senior executives I coach say the same thing to me. “I just don’t have time for this right now. I’m too busy to train for this.”

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