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The Hare and the Tortoise

You know the fable so let’s not cover old ground, but I’m curious about which character resonates with you more.

The Hare is naturally quick, confident in its own ability, charismatic. He can easily transition from a standstill to running full pace in the blink of an eye.

The Tortoise is slow on the uptake, calm, but get’s there in the end and can even be the first over the line. He show’s the attributes of resilience, determination and grit.

The Hare and the Tortoise both have desirable qualities, but I’d rather be a bit of both, than one or the other.

I’d rather be more Hare when starting a new gig. Quick to pick things up. Confident. Willing to accept the challenge.

When tasked with delivering a big strategic project I’d rather be more Tortoise. Have a calm and collected approach. Start with the end in mind but not be rushed and pressured to cut corners.

Sometimes colleagues / clients / stakeholders need to see speed of thought. Instant reaction to issues or blockers. Quick and decisive decision making.

Other times they need to see patience. Control. The long game.

It’s a hell of an ask to get this right every time. Christ knows I fail all the time, but this much is certain:

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Likewise, if you are all Tortoise and no Hare then yep – you are bang in trouble.

You need to understand both characters. To be able to play both roles. To make an appropriate choice based on the situation you are in or who you working with.

To do this you need to use your self awareness. To understand where you are and what is your default character. To understand you have a choice.

Stop what you are doing. Yep right now. Pause. Take a nice deep breathe. Look around you. Look at all the different colours. Notice the smells in the air. Sense the energy of those around you. Tune in to your own body for a moment and notice any tension or tightness. Take your time, don’t rush.

It’s nice isn’t it. To slow down and appreciate the beauty and complexity in our worlds. To acknowledge some of the things that are always there, but we’ve been ignoring or brushing past.

If that little exercise is something you’ve not done for a long time, you are probably more Hare than Tortoise.

If you didn’t notice anything new, and it’s something that you do all the time, you might be more Tortoise than Hare.

Neither of these characters is right or wrong, they are just different. They serve a different purpose. They are more effective in some situations that others.

At work are you always running at things full speed or are you drifting along slowly but surely? What’s your first instinct when a new challenge comes up?

Next time something new comes up pause and take a moment. Step back and evaluate the situation. Consider the characters of the Hare and the Tortoise and decide which one would fare better.

Choose your weapon, then go for it!

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