When climbing a mountain, whether that’s Everest or Kilimanjaro, climbers are encouraged to rest at at certain altitudes to help their bodies adjust to the decreasing levels of oxygen in the air. One of the benefits of this approach is it helps reduce altitude sickness; not 100% but it helps. Similarly when multi-day hiking, good practice recommends the habit of breaking up the hike into regular intervals so that you can maintain a consistent pace over the multiple days.
Habits are one of the most powerful aspects of being human; they can be positive or negative and often give us insight into what we unconsciously believe about ourselves or our worldview.
The tyranny of the urgent combined with our fear and short term views, can quickly lead us to believe everything is urgent and needed yesterday. A sense of urgency and ‘burning platforms’ can be helpful to help wake ourselves and others from the slumber ‘continuing to do what we’ve always done’, but if everything is urgent, nothing is, and we’ll end up burning out ourselves and our colleagues.
There is a time for urgent sprinting; there is a time for quick ascents of mountain, but when we build in habits allowing us, our teams, our organisations to catch our collective breath, we’ll likely go further. Burnout, like altitude sickness, is fairly easy to achieve, but no fun to experience and often comes with long lasting impact. Building the habit of pace is underrated, but crucial in achieving sustainable change.