You Can’t Rush a Boiling Egg

You Can't Rush a Boiling Egg

There you have it – one of life’s little universal truths. The other day as I was in a rush to eat dinner and head off to a networking meeting, I made a salad and really wanted a hard boiled egg on it. So, I put 2 eggs in water on the stove and proceeded to make the rest of the salad, set the table, and get my stuff together to leave for the meeting. It seemed like eons had passed so I whisked the egg out of the pot and started to peel it under cold water.

Well, the egg obviously had other ideas because it wouldn’t peel right – you know the situation where you start peeling and all the egg white rips off with it. Then I attempted to throw it in the egg slicer at which time it gushed all over. So much for the goal of hard boiled. So, I trashed that egg and put the remaining egg back on the burner.

Pacing around the kitchen waiting for the damn egg to finish cooking got me thinking about how we often try to fit reality into what we think should be versus rooting our expectations in what really is realistic. No matter how much of a hurry I was in, there was no rushing this egg or willing it to become hard boiled in 5 minutes versus the usual 10+ minutes it actually takes.

I find the busier I get, the more I want to make things happen on my time frame. I want to make that 30 minute commute in 20 minutes (all while still doing it at a leisurely pace) when I’m running late. I want technical support to reply in an hour and not the 24 hour response window they promise. I want to pay for something with the $20 I budgeted versus the $50 it actually cost.

The problem with slipping into this kind of thinking is that it is a setup for disappointment, failure, and stress. When we regularly expect more (from ourselves and others) than what is realistic, we get frazzled, feel more stressed out, and end up in a lousy mood. It is a lose/lose situation. Not to mention we don’t perform as well because we start feeling desperate about achieving the results we think we should be experiencing.

Inner Awareness Step:

  • What do you notice going on inside your mind and body when you find yourself wanting to rush?
  • Where in your life and business do you expect the impossible?

Practical Action Step:

  • Review your plans, projections, and expectations. Ask yourself truthfully – are these realistic given what I know to be true?
  • List 3-5 situations off the top of your head where you regularly try to fit reality into what you think it should be rather than what it really is?  Choose to let go of your agenda and get into the flow of what is actually happening.
 photo credit: Chris Mower via photopin cc

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Google+ Comments


  1. great piece, paula! reminds me of my last 'boiled egg' disaster this past february when my parents were snowbirding with me. instead of asking my mom if i could throw in my egg to her already cooking eggs (which she wanted to soft boil, i later found out!), in a rush i went ahead and took over, much to her dismay! let's just say my move messed up her plans… 🙂

    we are feeling like we have to do more with less, more so every day. i feel like thomas leonard had a point when he was saying this several years ago. i forget the word or phrase he used to describe it. i guess it's an example of this meta-thing…

    i wonder at what point do we become dangerous in our quest for speed? what is the breakpoint between efficiency and effectiveness? to me that is the balance to strike.

    the other issue i think you are referring to here is that you 'can't rush success'. i think this is so true when it comes to our development as biz owners. i had a great session with my coach yesterday, who gave me permission to vent, which i don't usually allow myself (pollyanna woman). Mostly pollyanna works for me, but i do think the frustration venting did help me get some perspective.

    this thing is more art than science, it seems. so, back to the 'drawing board' or 'easel' i go each day, figuring out how to work smarter not harder and do it joyfully…


  1. […] You can take this advice from Paula over at Coaching4Lesbians literally and learn a nice culinary tip, or you can read deeper into it and find the underboiled eggs in your own life. No matter how much of a hurry I was in, there was no rushing this egg or willing it to become hard boiled in 5 minutes versus the usual 10+ minutes it actually takes. […]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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