How many times have you heard this term in your life . . . hurry up! When we were kids, we probably heard a million times from our parents. “Hurry up or you’ll be late.” As adults, we hear it at work, “You better hurry up or you’ll be late for the meeting.” Heck, I’m retired and I’m still hearing that admonition. Recently I was out on the golf course and the marshal said, “Your group has fallen behind and you need to hurry up.” Just what I want to do—right—hit a hurried golf shot and then spend the next 15 minutes looking for it!

If you look up the word “hurry” in the dictionary, most of the definitions are linked to the word “haste.” The word hurry doesn’t connotate control, but generally the opposite—out of control or chaotic. Yet hurrying is a big part of our lives.

There are two quotes about hurry that are inspirational and worth passing along. The first is from the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden who said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” In fact, when I was interviewed on a Gemba Academy podcast, I was asked for my favorite lean quote, and this is the one I used. When you read it, you can see in your mind’s eye what Coach Wooden was encouraging—speed under control. Move as fast as you can without haste. I think this is the perfect picture of what our speed-of-business target should be—be quick but don’t hurry!

The second quote about hurry is from American philosopher, Dallas Willard, who challenges us to, ”Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” If we reflect on how a typical week goes, we can’t help but see hurry interspersed throughout everything we do. And what is the result of hurrying—do we get it done faster and better . . . or do we usually make a “hurried” misstep and whatever we’re trying to speed up takes even longer—especially after reworking our mistakes?

Hurry certainly introduces a lot more anxiety into our lives and even though we know better, we do it and suffer the consequences. I work with a CEO of a startup company who has a young family at home—so a lot is going on in his life. I shared this quote with him, and he and his wife took a look at their lives and how they might eliminate hurry—he said it was challenging, but eye opening.

Think about the role “hurry” plays in your life. Take the challenges of these two inspirational men. I’ll combine their quotes and encourage you to, “Be quick while ruthlessly eliminating hurry from your life.” If you have a moment, share some of your successful approaches to this topic.