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Thomas J. DeLong teaches globally in a myriad of executive programs and consults with leading organizations on the process of making individual and organizational change.  His 2011 book, Flying Without a Net:[…]

You have to slow down and slowing down means you have to reflect and it means that you have to listen and listen and listen some more. And when you start to truly listen what happens is that you begin to, again, self reflect -- and that isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing.

Over the last 25 years in working in professional service firms over and over again I would find myself talking with, conversing with, individuals, who in many respects never wanted to slow down. Incredibly smart, a little bit defensive when you gave them feedback, felt in many respects that they were really good at everything that they did, without ever asking actually some tough questions about whether they really were competent or not in things like management.  Who, after a while, seemed to spend more time managing their image than actually worrying about: “Am I really improving or am I trying new things?” And it seemed like that they were becoming more and more frightened about some very, very basic things.

While their lives seem to be working and they seem to be progressing and they seem to be achieving and accomplishing if for some reason you tell them that they’re falling down in a particular area... what happens is they begin to see themselves as an absolute failure as opposed to saying, “Well, you know I'm overwhelmed. I have a lot of things that I need to balance.”

Anything that gets in the way of them not accomplishing at the end of the day starts to feel like a distraction.

Often relationships begin to suffer with these individuals. They find themselves -- rather than listening with their children -- they find themselves asking for accountability. They find themselves giving directions and offering advice. They find themselves asking questions like:  “What did you do today? Have you done your homework? Have you applied for college, I mean you’re seven years-old, why aren’t you applying for college? Why is your room dirty?”  And so, they’re still in that role of accomplish, check things off. When you start having those kinds of feelings of “you know what I may be inadequate in these other dimensions,” what you do is your find yourself going faster and faster.