Speeding Doesn’t Get You There Faster

A few weeks ago I was taking my son to school. I noticed that the car in front of us was going exceptionally fast for this stretch of the road. Then, unexpectedly, a turkey saunters into the road and the car in front of me had to swerve. I slow up considerably to allow the turkey to cross the road. 

(No, this is not a set-up for a joke.)

When I get a mile or so down the road, the car that swerved and I met at the light. 

I was behind them, driving under the speed limit, and we still ended up in the same place.

This moment reminded me of life.

How often do you think, ‘if I outrun the person behind me, I’ll get to the finish line quicker?”

I know that, that sounds like the basic premise for running, or getting to your destination faster, but there is an insurmountable amount of evidence to the contrary.

As a faux runner - someone who runs, walks, jogs, drags myself on the greenway for health versus fun - I have learned that speed is not the only determinant of success. Honestly, I might even bargain to say that “winning” a race happens long before you arrive to the track or trail.

That car driver, like some of you, believe that you can nearly knock over others, gun it, and laugh into the sunset; but many of you also fail to realize that slow and steady wins the race too. 

For 13 years I have operated my boutique communications firm. While at a speaking engagement a few years back someone asked, “what has been the greatest tool you’ve used in your business.” 

My response was simple, “Focus!”

When I encounter young (in age or business maturity) business owners seeking advice on how to find success in their venture, I encourage them to pace themselves by doing one thing. And then doing that one thing really, really well. Master that one part of your business. Build clientele and a positive reputation with that one vertical. Your audience will understand how to purchase from you and how to refer you without much confusion.

As you find your focus, here are some things for you to consider. 

Do you know what to spend your time on?

Do you know what your audience wants? (and you understand the difference between your audience and the end-user?)

Do you know how to slow down to gain speed?

Do you know when and how to slowly pivot? (again, this is pivoting not swiveling)

Here’s my advice to you on this journey. 

Don’t be the fastest one to market, be the most consistent. 

Don’t be the show off with nowhere to go. Show off after you’ve reached your destination.

And, don’t be frustrated when someone doing the work less time makes it there at the same time you do. Experience only matters when we use it as a footstool for growth, not to prove we’re a know-it-all.

About Kia Jarmon
Kia Jarmon works at the intersection of culture, community, crisis, and communications at boutique public relations and community engagement firm, MEPR Agency. Kia is a 25-year life-time member of Girl Scouts and daily she lives by the promise “on my honor I will try…to help people at all times”. You can find more about her custom workshops, communications or community resilience work, or speaking engagements by visiting www.MEPRagency.com or www.KiaJarmon.com.