Act Fast, Walk Slow

When I was a younger lad, a friend of mine and I were walking one day. As we were headed across a parking lot, he put his arm in front of me, stopped me, and said, "Slow down." I looked at him and had no idea why he was doing that; I was focused and on my way. He was about to make a very important point that would stick with me for years.

My friend asked me to wait a moment and watch him walk over to the car and back. He walked slowly and upright. As he came back he said, "see?" I did not see. He had to explain further. He gave an example of how - the then president of the United States - walked to and from meetings. He said that even with the president's important and busy schedule, he still had control as he walked.

Ever since that lesson in the parking lot I have watched people walk. Some of the busiest people on the planet walk methodically, purposely and under control. When they do, it conveys a sense of calm. If we were to see the president running across the lawn to get into the helicopter, we would be just a bit alarmed. The same principal applies with all of us (without the helicopter).

When we are very busy and we allow all of the activity to consume our immediate thoughts while we walk, we tend to lean forward and rush from place to place. I see some people carrying laptops and all sorts of papers as they do this. It makes people nervous to see that.

If you want an edge, slow down. Once you get to your destination you can act quickly. In fact, many people are nervous and rushing around because they are not making decisions quickly enough. It is a paradox. We are all busy with both work and personal activities.

Be the person who takes time to walk with a sense of purpose, take the time to greet people in your path, smile and make eye contact. It will put people at ease. You might make a few more friends and even pick up a fair amount of information along your way. When you get there, the decisions will still be waiting. You can make them quickly and then be on your way to your next walk.