From my Sketchbook: Travel at Your Own Speed


Have you ever been driving down the road, following along at the speed of the cars ahead of you, knowing you will arrive at your destination in due time and hopefully safely? Then you look in your rear view mirror and see a vehicle coming towards you at a high rate of speed. And before you know it, that vehicle is tailgating you. And I’m not talking about just being uncomfortably close…I am talking about being inches away from your back bumper. So close in fact, that if you sneezed and tapped your brakes, that vehicle would land in your backseat.

Unfortunately, tailgaters can occur “off-road” as well. And by that I mean, we can find ourselves in a situation in which people are pushing us through our lives at their speed. And not our own speed.

My friend, “Elizabeth”, is experiencing just such a situation. And it’s occurring at her workplace. Her boss, and her boss’s boss, are pushing her to work at a ridiculous pace simply to promote their own agenda. And because she loves what she does, and is dedicated to what she does and the people she does it with…she finds herself spending her work days in a very stressful environment.

And it’s something that tends to happen gradually over time. Eight hours a day can quickly and easily turn into 10 hours. 10 can turn into 12. And before you know it, you’re working 14 to 16 hour days. And the stress that can put on your physical, mental, and emotional health can be devastating.

Elizabeth is recovering from a major medical crisis. The prognosis is good. She’s come through with flying colors. And one of the things she has learned along the way is that she had to reset her priorities. As much as she loves her job, the stress her bosses are putting on her is not worth compromising her health. And I am so very happy for her, and so very proud of her, that she is kicking that stress to the curb.

As we were phone-chatting recently about her situation, I suggested she look at it like she was driving down the road with a tailgater riding her bumper. And any time her bosses start to work on her worse nerve, just let the word “tailgater” come to mind, followed by this dialogue:

“Here’s your clue phone, Snarky. You can only go as fast as the person in front of you. And that person in front of you right now would be me. And I get to choose how fast I travel down my road. Not you.”

Now, I’m not saying to be an underachiever in life. Overachieve as much as you want. I know I do. But please maintain a balance. Make sure that you are setting your own pace. And you are not giving permission to someone else for you to travel at their pace. And make sure you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because when all is said and done, you can’t keep up any pace unless you are healthy…mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Falls under the category of “Back-off and Get Off My Road, Jack.”


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