How slowing down helps us connect with people around us

I have been out of action for several months after a major fracture and surgery from falling off my bike. Fortunately, I am on the path to a full recovery. One upside of the entire experience was I made new friends in my neighbourhood by slowing down.

We have lived in the same street for about fifteen years and aside from our immediate neighbours, I haven’t met many other fellow residents. In normal times, I’m rushing here and there and I’m too busy to stop and say hello. But during my rehabilitation, when I couldn’t drive, I did a daily walk along the street on my crutches. Hobbling along at a snail’s pace on my crutches, I bumped into many people on our street, whom I had never met or made the time to talk with.

My reduced mobility forced me to slow down and connect with so many interesting people, who I hope to remain in contact with. I met the elderly Italian couple who have lived in the street for 65 years. There is another guy who grew up in my hometown of Geelong and we discovered we have common friends from our teenage years. I also met a resident who proudly showed me his amazing vintage motor bike collection. Everyone I encountered had a fascinating story to tell. 

It amazed me how many interesting people live in the same street. 

It occurred to me leaders have a similar problem. The pace of life demands we focus on achieving results. We’re often too busy to spend time with people, our peers, team members, or important stakeholders. We need to slow down to connect with them and hear their stories. Even though it takes more time, it is a worthwhile investment to interrupt our busy lifestyle.

People are more inclined to follow a leader who takes the time to understand their aspirations and who values their personal qualities. 

Penny Locaso proposes that removing the word busy from our vocabulary could even contribute to our happiness, in the HBR Ascend article, What You Were Taught About “Happiness” Isn’t True.

Penny suggests, ‘Try removing the word “busy” from your vocabulary for just one week and observe how it impacts your mindset, your behavior, and the connection you have with others.’ 

🙋 How could you slow down and connect with others in your experience? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian