My training partner, Chris, and his wife are expecting a baby any day now. Everyone who knows them is waiting with them: all the appointments I schedule with Chris have been "baby permitting" for weeks. It's a good time for me to think about what happens when we wait.
Chris has always been a master at counselling patience (and often a master a practicing it himself!). Timing, he reminds me often, is everything. YWe do not stop moving forward even when it feels like the world is holding its breath. Or worse, when it feels like the world is pushing us backward.
Have you experienced those days of death by a thousand paper cuts, the days when so many insignificant things work against you that it seems they must have significance after all?
Two things help me on those days. The first is what I think of as "going back to first principles," that mathematical concept that leads me back to re-imagining my outcomes and testing them. Yes, I will think. That's good. That's what I want. That's worth waiting for. All the trials and tribulations are just the part of the story that comes before achievement. Resistance is what we meet when we move forward.
The other thing that helps me maintain perspective and wait productively is that I seek out connections to other people. These connections provide moral support, it's true; but practically speaking, they provide something more. Their perspectives balance and stabilize mine and the stability that comes from multiple points of view strengthens my focus on my outcomes. Put another way, they change my perception of the horizon represented by the outcome towards which I'm moving. Through multiple perspectives, I know I'm on the right path and not moving towards a mirage.
Waiting is a time for stabilizing, for perspective, for commitment. It is a discipline that is served just as well by laughing with other people as it is by sitting nervously and focusing on what we do not have or cannot do now. What are you waiting for?