Two things are true simultaneously:
We’re running out of time.
We have too much time on our hands.
How can we be at a deadline and bored at the same time?
We always are.
Our experience of time relates to engagement, fear, opportunity and the culture.
Everyone gets the same 24 hours. Reset every day, a fresh start.
Some of us are privileged enough to have the choice on how to spend some of that time. We can feel busy, but the busy-ness is largely a choice, a series of decisions we’ve made over the years about the things we choose to do, but have come to believe we have to do.
These habits are now comfortable. Walking away from spending that time will cost us comfort. In the short run. But if we don’t walk away from how we spent time yesterday, it’s hard to imagine that tomorrow will be much better than today.
Where are you headed? The choices you’re making, the effort, the sacrifices—where is the destination?
We make choices every day about our destination. And because of those choices, we go on a journey.
Along that journey, we take risks but we also experience an internal narrative about those risks.
And so, destinations, risks (perceived and actual) and journeys define our lives.
It’s possible you’ve come to the conclusion that the destination you’ve chosen isn’t for you. That being a pop star, a successful VP of accounting or a receptionist with a secure position isn’t a life you’d like to lead.
But don’t confuse that with the journey. Maybe you’d be happy with the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow, but it’s entirely possible you don’t want to suffer the discomfort and indignities and effort it will take to get to that destination, that you’d like an easier path. You’ll happily take the destination but the truth is, the journey is too arduous.
And don’t confuse that with your imagining of the risks along the way. It might be that you want the destination, that you are willing to put up with (or even delight in) the journey but your narrative of the risks and dangers are just too much to handle.
When we conflate the destination with the journey and with our narrative of the risks, we have no hope of improving any of the three. Instead, we often pushed to throw out all three at once or embrace them all. But it’s possible, with effort and planning, to make the journey more palatable or the risks feel more tolerable.
The destination isn’t the journey. And our narrative of the actual risks is up to us.
I have a little wooden plaque with those three words on it.
And of course, the answer is often “yes.”
If you’re waiting on an unavoidable delay, then you’re not stalling. If you’re making things better in a way that the customer will notice, then you’re not stalling. If you’re finding that the spaces in between are giving you joy and sustaining you, then you’re not stalling.
If you’re holding back and looking for a reason why, and that reason is replaced by another reason, then… you might be stalling.