Much of my professional career was spent waiting. Waiting for the right moment, the right time to sit down with my boss or to talk about new responsibilities. I’d wait to discuss my professional goals or career objectives. Waiting till my review. Waiting to start my life.
In New York City, the cumulative amount of time all working professionals in the city spend in elevators in a twelve month period spent waiting is 16.6 years. Imagine 16 years. At my funeral I really don’t want someone saying, “That Jessica. She can ride a mean elevator. Yup, one of the best.”
Silly, huh? So why are you waiting?
There never really is a right moment especially when it comes to leadership. Leaders and managers within an organization should know it’s the little moments, those moments often spent waiting that are critical to your organization, working with your team, and also in your life. As leaders and individuals we often are remembered and remember those defining moments instead of the moments spent waiting and preparing to step in the spotlight. Remembering the moment when we hit that home run and forgetting the hours playing catch with dad and hours spent at the batting cages.
But life and leadership is only made of a handful of those moments, and like New Yorkers in elevators, we spend a lot of time waiting.
Waiting- the Symptom of Failure
You can’t afford to wait. Life insurance companies like to remind us about the cost of waiting, and they just might have right. Because waiting is often the symptom to a bigger problem. Waiting results in lost customers and increased employee turnover. Last week, I spent waiting 45 minutes on hold to talk to a technical service representative about my home Internet. Companies and leaders often hold off to talk to employees about their performance waiting for their scheduled quarterly meeting missing an opportunity to provide a real-time teaching moment.
Managers and leaders wait because situations and encounters like performance discussions are uncomfortable and unpleasant so we avoid what we don’t enjoy. We wait to hear employee feedback about the organization until only after the employee has given their notice. Imagine if we didn’t wait. What impact would this have on the organization or your life?
Waiting is not only a symptom to a broken organization, life choice, or process, but waiting is fear gussied up. It’s an excuse to be better prepared. An excuse not to take ownership. Waiting to admit your failures or fear to put yourself in front of success. We spend so much time waiting, that we forget what it’s like living.
Quit worrying. Quit waiting. Stop reflecting. Start living.