Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) famously said, “So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.” We're all going hard and fast. Everyone’s busy, stressed and overwhelmed. To do lists are endless, time is finite and the most common phrase from most people is “I wish I had more time” or “I didn’t get it done because I didn’t have enough time.”
Good luck with that strategy – somehow coming up with more time. With all of this hurrying, most of us just want to slow down and do less.
Given this current reality, the last thing you want to hear from me (or anyone) is to do more or work harder. So I won’t say it and, in fact, I don’t believe it’s the answer (at least for most of you). Rather, I invite you to embrace urgency – a healthy sense of urgency – as the answer to achieving more and creating more impact.
Contrary to common usage, urgent does not mean fast. Urgent does not mean being busy. Urgent most definitely does not mean being rushed or hurrying through things. In fact, in most cases acting with the sense of urgency will allow you to slow down (more on that in a moment). In the words of immortal college basketball coach, John Wooden, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Urgency is similar – think urgent, but don’t hurry.
Urgency is about opportunities and being opportunistic. Urgency is about being intentional and purposeful. Urgency is about priorities. And often, urgency is about slowing down. People with a strong sense of urgency understand the value and beauty in each moment. They know that moments are gone just as quickly as they come. The sense of urgency I'm talking about is about waking up and living every day knowing that life is precious, that opportunities quickly come and go, and that you will never again have the moments that you have today. Whether they are personal moments, relationship moments, family moments, or business moments, today's moments will never be repeated exactly the same way. An urgent mindset helps you to stay present in each moment instead of rushing through to the next moment.
If you're blessed to have another day, you will have new moments tomorrow, but they will not be the same moments you had today. It's so easy to put things off, both personally and professionally:
That vacation you've always wanted to take, spending time with your family or with friends.
Reading that book—or writing that book.
Making that sales or customer call.
Launching a new product, service or marketing campaign.
“I’ll get to it tomorrow.” “I’ll do it someday.” “It’s not the right time.” The list and the excuses go on and on, as do the moments and the opportunities in each moment.
Seth Godin is fond of talking about the need to just “ship it,” and shipping to Seth is all about acting with a sense of urgency. Isn't it time for you to live your life, build your relationships and grow your business with a sense of urgency?
If not, just keep doing what you've been doing – hurry, stay busy, rush, stress and be overwhelmed – and look forward to the same results you've been getting. If instead you're ready for something different, try on a healthy sense of urgency. I know it will fit you well and change things for the better.
Jeff Nischwitz is the Chief Story Debunker of The Nischwitz Group, a speaking, coaching and consulting firm that transforms people and organizations … One Story at a Time! He is also the author of Unmask: Let Go of Who You’re “Supposed” to Be & Unleash Your True Leader (Motivational Press 2014). You can learn more at www.nischwitzgroup.com