Last summer I was invited to a talent development offsite, 'women fit for success'. I very much enjoy and applaude these programmes and investments on the company's talents, but I do wonder whether tailoring programmes specifically for women doesn't make the problem of gender equality in the workplace even worse.
Nevertheless, I pack my overnight bag and off I go. The whole two days programme was very interesting, one thing in particular has hit a nerve, the pace calculator exercise.
After a short networking lunch on day 2, that followed an intense morning and an even more packed day 1, we are asked to stand up from our chairs and start walking in circles around the room, following the pace that the workshop leader would indicate.
Mentally I wonder 'Seriously, with all the emails piling up in my inbox, my endless to do list, why are we doing this random exercise now?' It took fifteen minutes before realisation hit home and I saw how important is my inner pace, at any given time of the day, and how I could make that work to my benefit.
So we keep walking in circles, slowly, then fast, then very fast trying to avoid collision with the other twenty ladies, then almost running, then very slowly, then we are asked to choose our pace and keep walking.
My pace of choice that afternoon after lunch, from 1 to 5, where 1 is slowly walking as if you are admiring art in a museum and 5 is rushing for the train in heels, was 2/3. I felt uncomfortable with 4 and 5, almost annoyed, and so I did with 1 and 2.
How would my mind and body perform when forced out of their natural pace in a particular moment?
Being a 'morning person' I know that would I have done the same exercise at 9am through to 12pm, I would have gone for 4 or even 5, at 5pm to 8pm probably as well, but after lunch? My mind needs focus and slow pace, as much as it needs adrenaline in the morning and early evening. Your 'inner pace' can also change depending on the time of the year, after a regenerating holiday you would probably choose a pace 5 throughout the day as much as after a long year and a particularly tiring patch (erm) you would probably want to hide under the duvet, no I meant choose a pace 1/2 more often.
Our take away, you have guessed it, was to learn to tailor our days, workload, tasks, based on our personal natural pace. Not that often we are given the choice (hello 1pm meetings) but knowledge and self awareness always make you score higher.