Most of us are very busy – it’s a modern mark of value. There are so many things needing to be done, to be purchased, and to be watched on our screens. We are trained by the ever-increasing rates of media and concerns to move quickly. It gives us very little time for true understanding, or the development of potential and satisfication – in ourselves or in those around us. Through busyness we reduce our focus to just the immediate activity at hand, with the longer range and personal elements becoming secondary if considered at all.
One of the central concepts of a team – be it a group of employees, a family, or a sports team – is that combined strengths lead to shared success. Those strengths include both the hands-on skills of the team members, as well as the emotional ambience and influences that motivate and guide the group.
But when people are busy they tend to become reactive rather than proactive, and functional rather than intentional – the subtleties and considerations get lost – and each moment becomes one of immediate result or exhausted rest. In such a state people are finding it harder to be encouraging or appreciative of others. The emotional ambience becomes an assumption of commited determination rather than a thoughtfulness of how any team member might be lifted up, honoured or encouraged. “We’ve got things to do and you should be doing them right now!” becomes the mindset.
This is not to say that people have become unfeeling or dispassionate – those attributes are hard-wired into us. But telling your busy co-worker or friend “It’s okay – we’ll get through this” is very different from being purposeful in thinking about the people in our lives – from being encouraging – from being considerate and forward-thinking. Telling someone “Hey, I forgot to mention you did a good job last time but you did and here’s another task” is insufficient encouragement, and far short of intentionally seeking ways to recognize people’s contributions.
In a busy world people burn out that could have been lifted up, good ideas go unused or undeveloped, and existing and potential new leaders get discouraged. Without timely communication, personal encouragement, and reflection organizations and lives get stuck in the same pattern and conditions – they lose a better future while they grind through the present.
Every person is different, yet every person has the same needs: to be part of good things, to grow in their skills and potential, and to be recognized and encouraged. You have a vital role in the lives of those around you – not just through the hands-on skills you use on a task – but by being purposeful and intentional in your communication and encouragement. When we intentionally consider people’s needs we develop ways to help them, and also ourselves. When people are encouraged, honoured and built-up good things happen. Yes, it takes time, and yes it takes change, but it’s worth it because helping and encouraging others is a bigger source of joy, satisfaction and positive change than any bottom line can ever show.
You have more influence than you think, and more opportunities than you have been using, to help others and make life better.
Break the cycle of busyness, and bring intentionality back to life.