If you are like me, you like playing much more than you do waiting.
In business, we love to get into the action and hate sitting and waiting for someone else to get done playing. We have a great idea and cannot wait to make it happen.
We live in an impatient world, demanding immediate action to keep pace with a rapidly developing world. If we don’t act quickly, we fear we will be left behind. Maybe that is why most drivers exceed the speed limit, many blow through yellow lights and too often run through red.
So why should we wait?
As innovators passionate about creating radical change, we often have a hard time waiting. We cannot wait to develop the idea. We struggle to wait for others to get on board. We are frustrated waiting for others to do their part and our patience is particularly challenged when there are unexpected delays. The vision is so enticing that we find it hard to wait for the project to be finished.
But we know waiting is critical – although waiting is not easy.
This topic is very personal for me because I’m not known for my patience. That is a nice way of saying I’m rather impatient. I know what I want and I want it a.s.a.p.
You may be like that as well. We live in a nanosecond culture that refuses to wait for much and demands posts in 250 words or less.
I’m going to purposely test your patience with this article. Be warned, it is longer than many.
Are you willing to wait for the powerful point?
If not, you might be acting too soon and ruining your ultimate opportunity for radical change.
Learning to Wait
It started in a strange place. I remember taking piano lessons from Mrs. Knudson in second grade. She patiently taught me how to hold my hands, how to press the keys and, to my surprise, how to wait. At that early age, I learned that the piece is far more powerful if the notes are played in a certain pattern and separated with significant pauses. Without the rest, the notes run together and lack the ultimate impact. Waiting turns irritating noise into beautiful music.
The Opportunity of a Lifetime
Years later, after I had gone back to college to pursue my Bachelor’s at age 31, I joined the Concert Choir because I liked to sing. I developing my singing skills as we molded our 60 voices into one harmonious sound. One day, our director, Dr. Canaan, made a surprising announcement that was so exciting I had could not wait for it to happen.
“We have been invited to to perform Handle’s Messiah in Carnegie Hall.”
Wow! What an opportunity. Having grown up on a small farm in South Dakota and having never been east of the Mississippi, going to New York City was exhilarating. But to perform in Carnegie Hall? That wasn’t even in my realm of possibilities – especially since I wasn’t even a music major. These things didn’t happen to me. No wonder I couldn’t wait.
What radical change are you working on that make waiting difficult?
But waiting wasn’t easy. As the months went by, it was always on my mind as I took classes, did my homework and worked toward graduation. But I could do nothing about it but wait and continue working.
So we practiced, practiced and practiced some more.
But then something unthinkable happened. For a variety of reasons, the trip was postponed for a year. That meant more waiting and practicing.
As leaders, often we have have setbacks that we didn’t expect.
So we continued to work on the score, knowing we would be performing with four other choirs. All 300 of us must had to hit our appropriate notes on the perfect pitch at the perfect time. For a performance worthy of that legendary venue, timing was of the essence. So we had to become experts at both waiting and performing. We continued to practice and practice and practice.
Finally, the moment we had been waiting for was here. I still remember filing in to that revered hall, more than a bit intimidated and taking my place, which just happened to be, center stage. I knew I had to be on top of my game. Now was the moment to perform. This was the perfect time.
Do you know the perfect time for you to take the appropriate action and realize the ultimate results?
You can imagine the sheer joy of performing as we had practiced. But you can also imagine the intimidation of such a moment. No one wanted to miss a beat, sing off key or make any type of mistake. We had to be perfect. We had to in sync and on time – and we were because we had worked while waiting.
The performance built to a crescendo, peaking at the beginning of the last piece. I still remember it. I still feel the hair on the back of my neck stand on end when I hear those famous first notes to the Hallelujah Chorus. “Da dada. Da. Dada.” You know the notes. You also know those notes are the audience’s cue to stand and, at the assigned time, for the choir to sing, “Hallelujah!”
Is your audience rising in anticipation of your radical change?
What a moment! What a memory!
That performance was made possible by learning to wait. No wonder it still lingers in my mind, body and spirit three decades later.
Waiting for Radical Change
This is a long post and you are probably waiting for me to get to the point. Your wait is over – Here it is.
As leaders and innovators, we learn to wait but only for the right purpose and for the right time to perform. Waiting is good when it is necessary to give our ideas time to breathe, to be developed and gain support. Waiting is a critical step in the process of radical change as we practice, practice and practice to perform at the perfect time.
Unfortunately, most of us are not good at waiting. So we rush in and often ruin the performance. Why?
We don’t read much about waiting. The leadership gurus don’t write much about it. Maybe that is because action is dynamic and waiting is seen as passive. What we often do not realize is that waiting is part of the strategic plan, part of the proven process, just as the rest is a critical part of the musical score. Waiting gives the action its power and sets the stage for the best results. Act too soon or too late and we ruin the opportunity. Execution of the plan is like playing the note at the perfect time. But understanding what makes the perfect time for action and then waiting for that time makes the most of the specific opportunity. Impatience ruins radical change. Meanwhile, patience maximizes the best opportunities.
We leverage our leadership power by executing the the appropriate action at perfect time. That means we are patient, not rushing to action. We are also not hesitant, fearing failure and then waiting too long and missing our ultimate opportunity.
Watch for my post next week. It is a short, bullet point piece that you can implement immediately. Can you wait?
3D PWR Tip: Learn to Wait for the Perfect Time to make the Radical Change.
(C) 2016 Murfield International, Inc.
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Dr. Loren Murfield works with aspiring and emerging leaders to create radical change. Check out my new Online Leadership Power Leveraging Platform at www.PWRuniversity.com. While there, download your FREE eBook, “The 9 Critical Components of Leadership Power.”
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