Sometimes It’s Best to Wait for It

Named by Inc. as one of the top 100 leadership speakers, Shelley Row, P.E., is an engineer and former government and association executive. Shelley’s leadership work focuses on developing insightful leaders who can see beyond the data.

I smiled as I watched the dad with his two-your old son scurry to the hotel escalator.  The dad held his son’s hand firmly and flew him a few inches off the ground to land squarely on the moving step. The boy giggled and wiggled as if he was on an amusement park ride.  On the ride down, the little boy leaned forward in anticipation as if ready for take-off. I cringed with worry envisioning sharp escalator teeth against soft, baby skin. But his dad calmly said—“No, not yet. Wait for it.”

Waiting isn’t easy. When I teach one of my most requested programs about avoiding over-thinking, clients will comment that too much time is wasted by overthinking. We pressure ourselves to decide.

But sometimes the best decision is to wait.  How do you know when to wait?

A little time may reveal the next best step.


Waiting might be best when…

The future seems foggy.  If you are or your organization is going through a disruptive time, there may be a lack of clarity and discomfort. Take a breath and give it some time. A little time may reveal the next best step.

You don’t have any followersyet.  Leaders often find themselves in lonely roles. You’re a leader in part because you see the future more quickly and clearly than others. That’s exciting for you, but your tribe may need time to rally behind you. Gentle and intentionally share your ideas, but don’t demand immediate buy-in.

You’re pushing too hard.  If you’ve been working and working toward a goal but nothing seems to be happening. Instead of pushing so hard, wait awhile. You may be trying to force something that isn’t ready. Listen to that nagging feeling that says you’re trying too hard. In my experience, pausing may provide an opening for pieces to fall into place.

As the escalator ride came to an end, the boy waited for the precise moment for his dad to swing him over the threshold. He ran off in glee and safely. He left behind a reminder to “wait for it.”

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