Last week Alan and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary. We drove up the central California coast as we were given the gift of a few days at a luxury resort. Our souls took a deep breath.
We spent our time taking in the beauty of vineyards, ocean bluffs and country roads. We even took our bikes along with us, knowing that we wanted to enjoy some of the scenery at biking pace.
Before we get too far into this story, let’s just say that I am not in prime physical condition. Pair that with the fact that Alan has very strong legs, and has biked hundreds of miles of coastline with his dad and brothers, and you have an obvious mismatched pairing for a bike ride.
But since this was our anniversary, neither one of us was trying to impress anyone or beat any land speed records. I knew, however, that Alan would be holding himself back to keep to my pace. He let me lead so that I would determine our speed. He willingly brought up the rear as we enjoyed our ocean view.
At one point, going up a hill, I had my bike gears in 1:1. I looked over at Alan and wondered how he was staying upright since he was going so extremely slow to stay with me. I gave him permission to kick it into gear and go ahead. I would catch up. But he stayed with me and my uphill snail’s pace.
Isn’t that the model of an unhurried leader? Alan was more than capable of going three to four times as fast as me. But, for him, that wasn’t the goal.
That bike ride was about relationship. It wasn’t about getting somewhere. It wasn’t about achievement. It was about us. Enjoying beauty together. Breathing salty air together. And, yes, getting a little exercise together.
This is unhurried influence. Going at the pace of the slower one. Sometimes setting aside your “advanced” abilities to be with another in their journey. It is very nice to be on the receiving end of such grace.
As a person of influence, you may be tempted to move ahead more quickly than your people can move. Be sure they sense you are with them in their journey, that you aren’t trying to drag them forward at your pace.
Relationship is more important than achievement.
And, if you find yourself on the receiving end of someone else’s grace, it’s ok to receive that gift from them. If you need more time, that’s ok. The fact that you are still pedaling means something. You aren’t giving up and you will get to your destination.
We need not have a position of influence to be a person of influence.