Introduction to Pacing

Pacing is how we assimilate experiences in space and time. It can be experienced internally as a heartbeat or as the process of breathing. Since everyone has a unique rate at which they optimize their assimilation, we typically only do this when we are by ourselves. Some people are organized to process small experience units at fast speeds and some prefer large experience units at slow speeds. Distance and defensiveness arise out of a difference in our internal processing clocks. Different Pacing undermines our natural experience of closeness and unity. Common Pacing, meanwhile, supports our experience of being connected, “in sync” and appreciated. To maximize the degree of communication, we may find ourselves speeding up or slowing down to a Pace based on the average of the people around us. The greater the difference in Pacing, the more we end up operating outside our preferred comfort zone, leading to an energy drain. Many people find small differences easy to deal with, while large differences affect both people quickly (within 1 to 2 hours).

Pacing is “measured” on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 meaning the slowest Pace and 100 the fastest. The population as a whole falls in a bell shaped curve, with 50 as the center point. If there is a difference of 20 points or more between people’s Pacing, it means that the slow-Paced individual will become exhausted, usually within 4 to 5 hours of being with the fast-Paced person. The fast-Paced person will gradually, over this time, feel more unable to get things done and are personally not seen. The greater the difference, the faster the effects show up and the more difficult the issues become. Personal energy is the key issue to observe around Pacing differences. This issue also becomes more acute as the relationship builds momentum. The slow-Paced person becomes tired and drained, and the fast-Paced person becomes frustrated and impatient to see forward movement.

In various places within this document, we will be using the terms “slow-Paced” and “lower-Paced” interchangeably to reflect a person that takes time to process larger chunks of experience. Just because we use a term “slow” or “lower” does not mean they are inferior to their counterparts who are “fast-Paced” or “higher-Paced” individuals. While society may have its beliefs that fast-Paced individuals are more intelligent because they respond quicker in certain situations, both Pacing styles actually contribute equally. It is ironic that we have such a notion that we should be higher-Paced, when in fact we trust people more who are lower-Paced to make more clear and studied decisions. It is also ironic how while we try to move things faster, particularly in business but end up trusting those individuals who do things more slowly.

Remember, slow- and lower-Paced means that the individual takes on and interconnects more experiences and, therefore, is more holistic in their ability to speak the complete truth in that moment. Higher- and fast-Paced individuals, on the other hand, contribute by examining and trying out all the new possibilities. Their reputation increases because of their ability to deal with large amounts of extraneous data that has to be considered in the larger process. What the entire issue of Pacing comes down to is that slow-Paced individuals have a consolidated way of processing information so that it is all inter-related versus fast-Paced individuals have a faster way to move through information on the periphery of things to make sure all the bases are covered.

These differences in processing experience would not be difficult if it were not for the fact that each energetically gets fed in a different way and that conflicts between the two types tend to de-energize both. The motivation for slow-Paced individuals is to bring everything back to the source and connect all things together. This means that our cycle time is slower. The motivation for fast-Paced individuals is to keep covering new territory, which means we would become bored if we were operating from a central place. Operating on the periphery makes us feel that we have advanced warning about changes to come, which motivates us to keep seeking out new possibilities. At the core of these motivations is that lower-Paced individuals are more safety oriented, while higher-Paced individuals are more security oriented.

We can use this information to determine where we fall on the curve. For instance, if we feel we struggle to keep up with many of our friends or become exhausted over time, then we are probably lower-Paced. If we feel frustrated that people are not keeping up with us, or we get irritated that they are not completing their thoughts quickly enough, then we are likely higher-Paced. Simply put, if we are completing others’ sentences, we are higher-Paced; if they are completing ours, we are lower-Paced.

Pacing may also be confusing because slow-Paced people who have studied subjects intensively may appear more fast-Paced than they actually are. The key distinction is that Pacing relates to new assimilation experiences, not re-hashed experiences where individuals may operate faster or slower. In business conversations, we may also get feedback loops where we feel out-of-sync with the group. This indicates our relative degree of comfort with the material and our own ability to anchor ourselves in the process. The longer a group works together, the easier it is for us to find our own place in the group, and to resonate with the group process that works best for everyone. Unfortunately, this also means that some individuals who feel disconnected from the group may become scapegoats of the group. We will go into greater detail about this later.

Pacing typically shows up in romantic relationships on the 3rd to 5th date when we start spending a lot more time together. Typically, both parties experience the feeling, but fail to communicate about it because it could be interpreted critically. Pacing is an important factor to consider because it affects the energetic integrity of the relationship. When Pacing is the same, individuals consistently report the experience of “coming home.” Pacing within 5 points is optimal for compatibility. Pacing within 20 points is considered “workable.” Pacing differences of more than 20 points will need special consideration and support to be maintained.

Not feeling comfortable with another after a few hours together could indicate a Pacing difference. Pacing differences can show up as feelings of irritation, nervousness, distance, and criticism instead of easy relations. The greater the difference, the more each partner will perceive that they are being judged by the other, even if it is not true. Individuals with a Distant Defense Style are particularly sensitive to Pacing differences. One way around this is to acknowledge the difference and without taking it personally talk about it in terms of energy. With a large difference in Pacing, we may not want to spend more than an hour a day with that person.

If Pacing differences exist with our partner, we would be best advised to establish separate areas of our house to be able to settle into when we need to rest. We might find it necessary to sleep in separate bedrooms, as we may not be able to sleep well together. We will find that if we honor each other’s space in this way, our time together will be more fun, creative and uplifting. The instinctive factors of World View and Defensive Style affect the appearance of Pacing. Individuals doing Outer Success or Relationship lessons will typically seem higher-Paced than they actually are. Conversely, individuals completing Safety & Security and Inner Success lessons will tend to appear lower-Paced than they are. In a similar way, Dynamic-wounding will create an appearance of higher-Pace and Disarming will appear lower.

The more Pacing differences are institutionalized in business settings by placing people of different Paces by each other, the less productive the group will be. We have discovered that locating people in groups that are aligned in the Pacing can make it extremely more effective for people to be seen in their own Pacing. When individuals with a certain Pacing are around individuals that have less than a 10-point difference, they can become more naturally balancing for one another, so that their energy is higher throughout the whole day. When you have people of opposite Pacing working next to each other, it causes them to unconsciously fight each other for space, reducing the ability to focus on the work in front of them.

Experience Assimilation Speed and Depth

We make tradeoffs between the depth of assimilation and the speed of assimilation of new thoughts, feelings/emotions and sensations. Our goal internally is to discover the best way to assimilate a particular experience. There are two basic choices we can make that reflect a continuum of potential positions about what works for us. We identify this continuum as a scale between 0 (slowest) and 100 (fastest) with 50 being the mid-point. Slower paced individuals take more time and absorb more in a single sequence. Faster paced individuals layer the assimilation of each sequence to process quicker. This difference does not in any way reflect the degree of intelligence, even though culturally it is assumed that faster pace individuals are smarter. Pacing differences are the main invisible energetic difference that can bring us to our knees (if not understood) or empower us to unify with others when we do.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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