The Voice for Insightful Leadership with Shelley Row, P.E.

escalatorThey were in front of me as I approached the hotel’s escalator to head down to the first floor.  A little, brown-headed boy about 2 years scurried to the escalator holding his dad’s hand. His dad held firm to his hand as he flew him inches off the ground to land squarely on the escalator step. The little boy jumped and jiggled as though the escalator an amusement park ride. Clearly, this is the fun moment the little boy was anticipating.  As they approached the bottom, the boy couldn’t wait any longer. He leaned forward ready for take-off.  His father calmly said, “No. Not yet….wait for it.”

One of my most requested programs is about avoiding over-thinking. I hear from clients, “There is too much wasted time on over-thinking. The decision needs to be made now!” We add pressure by telling ourselves: I should decide, I need to decide, I’ve got to decide. But what about the decisions that need to wait? How does an insightful leader know when to “wait for it?”

The future is too hazy. During a disruptive time, the future can evolve in many different directions. It’s like seeing into a fog. The fog can lift just a bit – enough to see the next step – by waiting. But until the future begins to clear, deciding “NOW!” can be highly risky. It’s better to allow a little time to reveal the next best step.

There’s no coalition behind the leader. Leaders are in lonely roles. They see the future sooner and more clearly than others. If the future is too blurry for others to see, the leader may find themselves without a tribe. As that leader, you may find that building the tribe is harder than you thought. You are too far ahead and they can’t see what you see.  When that happens, “Wait for it.” Give the issue time to gel while you continue to socialize your idea with others until a coalition of like-minded people begins to coalesce.

Trying too hard. Have you ever felt like you were pushing toward a goal – pushing and pushing –  and it’s not happening? It’s like fitting a square peg into a round hole. You are trying to force a decision or an approach whose time has not yet come. The nagging feeling tells you that you’re trying too hard; the time has not yet come. Wait for it.  You’ll know the right time. In my experience, puzzle pieces begin to fall into place or something in your environment shifts. The result is it’s not so hard.

As the escalator ride came to an end, the boy, barely containing himself, waited for the precise moment when the step flattened into the floor and his father swung him over the threshold.  With glee, he scampered off not realizing the lesson he taught us: wait for it.

Have you ever found value from “waiting on it?” I’d love to hear your experience.

Photo Copyright : studiolaska  (Follow)

  1. Steven Goodson says:

    Yes I have. I enjoy hunting and passing that tradition down to my son’s and daughter. As hunter you never rush a shot unless you have to. which at times does happen but its rare. While sitting in a blind with my daughter I had promised her for her 16th birthday and Christmas present that she could harvest a mature whitetail buck. The buck i had in mind for her never showed up. However a mature Trophy class buck did. The deer that i had been waiting on for 2 months. SO what was i to do when she got excited and said there is my deer Daddy!. Dad gave in how could i refuse 16th birthday only happens once. Here comes the “wait on it” All excited and ready to shoot i told her wait on it.She said why? I asked her to look at the deer is it in a good position and could she make the shot? The deer was not in a good position and she needed to calm down in order to make a clean ethical kill shot. She was too excited and when your heart is pumping that fast i have seen experienced hunters miss a shot and latter said they should have waited. The last thing i wanted to happen was that because it would break her heart to miss. Chances like this do not happen all the time. My daughter learned 2 things more that day. Patience and “waiting on it” at times can be a good thing. 30-mins later and a lot of me saying “wait on it” she made a great shot. You know what its like telling 16 yr old to wait! Especially one that charges into everything full throttle. To this day its something we both still talk about and remember on her birthday. Like they say “Priceless”

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