Another experience from the land of grandchildren…From early in their childhood, it has been a tradition for me to read bedtime stories to the children, ages four and two, during visits. Sometimes six or seven books a night are read as they go to sleep. Wednesday evening we read one that I had heard about, but had never read. It is a Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You’ll Go.
As I read it, four pages popped out at me as a perfect way to introduce a topic I had been wanting to write to you about, not only on personal growth but on inspiring your people to go above and beyond that they might think as their limits. To stretch potential in the very best of ways through seemingly small actions. Please don’t be put off by a child’s book. Wisdom comes from many places.
Here is the passage from what I read just two days ago:
You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild spaces, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place…the Waiting Place…for people just waiting….
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No…everyone is just waiting…
waiting for wind to fly a kite or
waiting around for a Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
…..or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
Now, out of the children’s book and into your world. That world that, over the last 174 days, has been shredded, turned around, redefined, restructured and taken almost completely out of most of your hands in a variety, if not nearly all, ways.
How does the brain react to that? Not well. We have addressed that in these writings over the past months. Since your brain has been burned so many times recently with unknowns, it will naturally head into a waiting place until safety occurs. Completely expected and normal and disastrous, long-term to the psyche.
I have highlighted the danger zones in the passage above. To review:
A most useless place – rarely does growth occur in the waiting place. The brain will try to convince you that it is the best place to be, just to keep you “safe”. Don’t buy it. Countless opportunities await right now for those that have the courage to leave the waiting place. Remember that traction occurs with movement. Such movement does not have to be significant. In fact, most sustainable growth is quite incremental, but it does have to have movement!!
The mail to come or The phone to ring or waiting around for a Yes or a No- Coach John Wooden’s comments apply here that “when opportunity knocks, the time for preparation has passed”. Do you see yourself, or your people, reaching out for opportunities, or are you or they waiting for others to take the initiative? Even past high-performers can be derailed by a once-in-a-lifetime event that has been, and continues to be, chaotic. Don’t assume that pre-pandemic behavior will automatically kick back in.
Encourage the type of thinking and behavior I recently saw described in a great book, Every Tool’s a Hammer, by Adam Savage.
I have always found that to make anything great requires a good idea that is approached with a genuine regard for excellence and honesty…your ideas can come from anywhere. They are out there, floating everywhere. It will be your obsession and your passion that creates the gravity that draws them to you and then makes them yours. If you can feel that draw, that attraction, and then something catches your interest as a result, PAY ATTENTION TO IT. Being attuned to the pings of interest is the duty of a creator….we all have brains, and the ability to do remarkable things with them, but what we do with them is up to each of us.
Those that take that approach don’t spend time in the waiting place pining for A Better Break or Another Chance or taking a victim, who- can-believe-my-bad-luck stance…they create both the breaks and the chances. What you do over the next few months will be significant, but not if you, or your people, stay in the waiting place.