Your first memory of this phrase may be during a final exam, or perhaps in an art class. It’s one of those off-handed, but timeless sayings that can evoke a sense of enthusiasm, panic and even dread in each of us. But did you give any thought to what it meant?  You probably just felt pressure to keep up and finish before you’re the only one left in the room.

Let’s break it down:

The tried and true Dictionary defines pace as:

  • a rate of movement, especially in stepping, walking, etc.
  • a rate of activity, progress, growth, performance, etc.; tempo.

So what does that mean when it comes to our careers? (unless you’re a professional athlete, it’s pretty clear.) Everyone is “hardwired” differently, and we each have an internal motor that drives us. To better understand your pace, ask yourself this question:

Am I more outgoing or am I more reserved?

Everyone is “hardwired” differently and each of us has an internal motor that drives us. Outgoing people tend to speak quickly and with a lot of energy. Picture rapid hand gestures and facial expressions. They are generally enthusiastic and optimistic They are more ACTIVE Reserved folks are more, well, reserved in nature. Not a lot of facial expressions either. They are more PASSIVE. We’re talking about great poker players here. Think about how you interact with your customers, or potential customers.  Are you going at the same pace? Do you need to slow down when you’re delivering a sales pitch?

What do I do when I have an issue or problem I’m trying to solve?

If your pace is more Outgoing, you are going to talk to anyone and everyone who will listen. Truly a decision by committee at work here. If your pace is more reserved, you will tend to focus on thinking things through. Alone. By keeping things to yourself too often, what opportunities are you missing? What if a colleague or manager has a good idea that you won’t learn about?  Conversely, by telling everyone everything all the time….trust must?

What if I’m trying make a decision about something?

Outgoing styles typically are quick to make decisions; impulsive. And most of theses decisions are coming from a place of emotion and feeling. Those Reserved folks take a little longer to process incoming information, thus taking longer to come to decision. So for example, pitching to a Reserved prospect, you’re going to have to slow it down, lest you lose them and they will shut down.

So now you understand your pace. When taking on a project and/or working with a team, you now have the self-awareness of how you “operate.” The next step is to learn how others work and adapt your behavior to better align to theirs.  

Just make sure you’re going “at your own pace.”

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