Do you feel like you’re cramming too much in?

Yep, me too.

Last Friday I had a client coaching session. We booked out a couple of hours, and we used 90 minutes. Then we felt that we were done. We’d done good work. We didn’t rush it. I think what helped was a feeling that there was plenty of time to do the work.

I know an executive leadership team that meets only every two months for two days. There’s no fixed agenda. They create the time they need, and they have the conversations they need to have. It’s an incredibly successful company. I suspect that’s in part due to the discipline of creating space to allow them to do the work without rushing.

There’s an apt German word: ‘eigenzeit’. ‘Eigen’ means one’s own. ‘Zeit’ means time. Eigenzeit is ‘the time inherent in the process’. Some things just take the time they take. We can’t rush it. We can’t just squeeze time to wring more efficiency out of it. 

We see eizengeit in nature. A tree grows one ring per year – no more, no less. The tides change every six hours. The earth rotates once every 24 hours. That’s just the time it takes.

Let’s apply eizengeit to our workplaces too.

Where might this apply for you? Strategic thinking? Creating a new vision? Leading change?

Indigenous cultures the world over operate with eigenzeit central to their thinking. To think that we can make things go faster than they can is to be out of step with natural forces. The eternal law? Good things take time.

Either Bill Gates or Tony Robbins is credited with the idea that we overestimate what we can achieve in one year, but we underestimate what we can achieve in five. Keep your purpose and vision central, keep moving forward, and allow things to take the time they take.


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