Provision #123: Arrive Early

LifeTrek Provision

Back when Bob was serving as a local church pastor in the United Church of Christ, he preached many sermons that he needed to hear as much as everyone else. That was, in fact, the secret of his preaching. Not standing on a pedestal with a holier-than-thou attitude, but standing in a community with a confession-is-good attitude.

Such is the case with this week’s LifeTrek Provision. We are not very good at this ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize and interpret a good idea when we hear one. As two people who are often prone to squeeze in “just one more thing” before leaving for an appointment, this tip cuts to the quick: plan to arrive 10 minutes early to wherever you’re going. This compensates for unanticipated traffic delays, changes your attitude while driving, and gives you a chance to collect yourself when you arrive at your destination. In other words, it makes all of life less frantic, less hurry-hurry, and less driven by adrenaline. It calms things down.

It also flies in the face of culture and business in the information age. We didn’t invent our habit of rushing at the last minute all by ourselves. Family, friends, teachers, employers, and advertisers carefully instilled this habit in us. “Get yours before they’re all gone!” “Work harder and faster!” “Keep all the balls in the air!”

These are the kinds of messages that produce an adrenaline-driven lifestyle and culture. It is all around us. “Be the first on your block to own the latest and greatest! Rise to the top at all costs! Produce! Push! Profit!” It’s enough to wear down and wear out even the best and the brightest.

Are you caught in the adrenaline trap? The following 10-point checklist, adapted from a Coach University program, may assist you to answer that question.


  • Do you drink caffeinated coffee?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes to calm yourself down?
  • Do you get grabbed by surprises or upsets and then not calm down for a day or more?
  • Do you drive faster than the speed limit?
  • Do you run late?
  • Do you feel that inner rush much of the time?
  • Are you working too much and too hard?
  • Do you find that you attract more problems and upsets than you feel you deserve?
  • Is money tight?
  • Is it hard to focus for more than 10 minutes on a single thing or conversation?

Even one checkmark indicates that you are not living an adrenaline-free lifestyle. The more checkmarks the more adrenaline it takes to keep going from day to day. Adrenaline’s not all bad. It has its place, particularly in fight or flight situations. But as a lifestyle, day in and day out, it’s a terrible way to live. Always jazzed up. Always rushing. Never able to relax and be at peace with yourself, your family, your friends, your community, and your environment. Never free to just do nothing.

Arranging your schedule to arrive early for appointments and events, dealing with the fifth point on the checklist, is a powerful way to break the grip that adrenaline has over life. Every once in a while we manage to do just that: arrive early, 10 minutes or more, before an event or appointment starts. Time to sit in the car or walk around the block. Time to breathe. Time to be mindful of the situation, the people, the agenda, and the opportunity. Time to be silent. Time to listen. Time to talk.

It is truly a different way to get somewhere. Once you get the importance of going this way, you’re never quite the same. There’s a Swahili proverb, “Haraka, haraka, haina baraka,” meaning, “Hurry, hurry has no blessing.” Our entire culture, and most of our lives, defies this ancient wisdom at great personal and social cost. There are other ways to get things done than through adrenaline. Planning and practice, discipline and dedication come immediately to mind.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of

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