The Tortoise and the Hare

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I hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July. Besides the heat it was a great day, and when you live in Chicago heat beats cold any day. I am sure many of you are enjoying a nice long break, one of the perks of the holiday being on a Wednesday. I have to admit that my commute was much easier.

I am sitting here, wracking my brain, trying to think about what to write about. Something that is topical and relevant, but I think my brain is working slower due to all of the sunshine and BBQ I enjoyed yesterday. Everyone must feel this way, because I am looking through the business news and see not much of note. I could talk about the winner of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, but I will save that gem for another day.

During my morning news rounds I did come across this article called “The Wimpy Way to be Fearless: Just Do it for 10 Minutes” by Laura Brady Saade. This article fits my mood perfectly, light with just the right amount of advice. I don’t know about you, but I have a good amount of anxiety about trying new things, especially now that things in business and life in general are changing so quickly. It seems that every day is a Brave New World, and we don’t have an instruction manual on how to tackle some of the challenges that we are facing.

Saade describes herself as “a slow and steady girl: I do ambitious things (climbing Mount Whitney; running marathons), but very slowly.” She goes on to say that she felt that without bursts of energy, she couldn’t get things done. The solution to her dilemma was to dedicate at least ten minutes a day to a task until the task was done. She says that the plan is perfect for people with the following symptoms.

  • Short attention span
  • Lots of other pulls on your time
  • Dread of unpleasant tasks
  • Fear of not succeeding at something new
  • Worry that you’ll be devastated if you put too much heart and soul into something and then fail

I don’t know about you, but these symptoms fit me perfectly. I have those occasional bursts of energy, but what I accomplish is usually something new that was not on my to-do list. I have piles of books that I intend on reading (not counting what is on my iPad); my desk looks like a tornado hit it with white papers, proposals, and article drafts scattered everywhere; and my attempts at new projects (making macarons) usually wait and wait until the initial excitement wears off (which doesn’t take long considering my short attention span).

However, I think this 10-minute plan is perfect for today’s professional. We have a lot of pulls on our time, and much of our time seems to be consumed with learning new skills and tackling uncharted projects. This is where procrastination comes in. Why worry about that new project when I can work on something safe and familiar? The 10-minute plan can help us take down the barriers and fear and tackle things head-on, and once we start we will forget why we were worried to begin with. I can’t help thinking about the old Aesop fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Does slow and steady always win the race?

Are you the Tortoise or the Hare?

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Crystal Jones is the Director of Marketing at The Mpower Group (TMG). She has over 12 years of marketing experience specializing in B2B marketing for consulting companies. Crystal is actively involved in many organizations, including the Business Marketing Association (BMA). She also has her Master's Degree in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

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