Is It Time To Let Off The Gas?

March 7, 2014 — 10 Comments

A lot of recent advice I’ve heard is that when you reach the end of the project, you’ve got to push hard. Probably harder than you’ve ever pushed before.

To be a success, you’ve got to give it your all. Push the pedal to the metal and floor it.

But could this line of thinking be wrong? Could it be it’s time to let off of the gas?

Blazing through the snow on a snowmobile

Image by Paul Williams

I got to thinking about this after a recent snowmobile accident I had. It was also my first time on a sled.

My friend was showing me the ropes. We were blazing through the snowmobile trails in the woods near his home.

Midway through the trip, we decided to head back for a quick repair on his snowmobile. Right before we arrived at his house, he made a beeline for a snowbank.

Up and over he went. He made it look so easy.

Seeing this, I decided to follow suit. To my amazement, I made the jump nice and clean.

My actual accident happened later in the night. We were finishing up our snowmobile run and decided to hit the same jump again.

After an hour of snowmobiling under my belt, I think I was feeling a bit cockier as we approached the same jump. This time, I revved the engine, gave it gas, and hit the jump with my thumb still on the throttle.

What happened next wasn’t pretty. The nose started to point down, I began to rise and fall away from the sled. Eventually, I landed flat on the ground with a loud crack as my head hit the packed snow.

Do you know what I did wrong during this second jump? My mistake was in continuing to give it gas throughout the whole jump. This caused the snowmobile to tilt forward and cause the snowmobile accident.

This is what my crash looked like (though not actual footage)

Instead, what I should have done was approach the jump with a good amount of speed and as I ascended the hill for the jump, let off the gas and coast through the jump.

If this had been my approach, I would have had a much better chance of successfully landing the snowmobile. Because of my brashness, I fell flat on my back.

This is what my jump should have looked like:

As we lead, we need to realize when to push forward, hard and strong. Or when we need to lay off of the gas and coast through the rest of the process.

Learning when we need to do this will make our leadership so much smoother.

Question: Have you found letting off of the gas in leadership process to have been a help or a hindrance for you? Please share your experience in the comment section below.

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  • Zechariah Newman

    Great point Joe. Some people struggle with not pushing to much. I think most leaders struggle with what you are talking about today. I push to hard and don’t rest enough. Putting the breaks on is not something that comes naturally to me but I am always glad when I do.

    • kimanzi constable

      Great point Zech

      • Zechariah Newman

        I’m learning from this coach that now calls Hawaii home. You heard of him;)

        • kimanzi constable

          Ha Ha!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Zechariah, people like you are the reason I wrote this post. We’re in a world of push, push, push and rarely relax. There’s the fine balance we must find.

      • Zechariah Newman

        True Joe!

  • kimanzi constable

    I think that’s the key, knowing yourself, If you do, you know when you need to push and when you need to back off.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Great point Kimanzi. It’s all about knowing who we are and what we need.

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