10 Tips to Help Those Who Wait

September 14th, 2017

When faced with a decision, how do you act? Are you a person who acts quickly or do you have a tendency to wait? Do you analyze the situation, research possible outcomes, seek out alternatives, and then decide? Or do you sometimes just wait and time passes as does the opportunity, eliminating any need to decide at all.

Fascination with how many opportunities come to all of us that float by like clouds without decisive action, led me to ask the question – Why do we so often wait? Usually people say they will wait because there is a step they feel is necessary to take before making that decision. I will investigate that job opportunity once I’ve redone my resume, for example.

Sometimes, one waits and takes action on the step that should precede the other, but usually, “I need to wait” just is another way of saying, I’ll take no action. As a response, it’s akin to “maybe” after you ask your mom to take you to the zoo. It’s an escape term. In the world of flight or fight, this is the take off.

It’s difficult to see this occurring in yourself. I have an advantage of observing others responding (or not) to opportunities in my work, which points me back to my own flaws in this department.

There is evidence that premature scaling is the primary reason for the high number of startups that fail (particularly tech companies), and much written advocating “strategic patience” in business decision making.

However, individuals and small to mid-level entrepreneurs often hold off on making or acting on decisions that could allow them to scale and profit. At this level, you are ramping up and the sooner you grab on to great moments of good fortune, the quicker you accelerate your own growth and that of your business.

Reluctance is often more the tendency than quick action. It is still important to evaluate the decisions as thoroughly as you need to, but when you are telling yourself that you must wait for something else to occur, perhaps NOW is the time to tackle that specific roadblock (or mind block), instead of allowing it to derail you.

Here are a few tips to help those who wait:

1. Schedule an action to take as soon as you can, when you have options in front of you. For example, a potential client wants to meet with you and offers three dates. Take the first available.

2. Do something (quick analysis, determine what is needed, have a conversation) with every viable opportunity that comes along. You may still dismiss it, but it will be a conscious and deliberate choice versus neglecting to act.

3. Notice what and who is coming into your life. Is there anything you could do in that context or for that person, that might be of service? Noticing how you could serve may help you make the decision to engage. We tend to back off when we are thinking only in terms of ourselves.

4. Think “as if” and make decisions from that point. Focusing on where you are will keep you there. If you know the person you want to be, ask yourself how would I act if I was already there? If you want to be a million dollar business owner, ask yourself, what would a million dollar business owner do in this situation?

5. Simplify to Amplify. Tackle one project at a time, no matter how tempting it is to jump around or find new ideas. Finish a project before moving to the next. Schedule time to fit in smaller tasks that can be lumped together and handled quickly so they do not present constant distractions.

6. Hit the thing you want to do least, first. This takes mind game playing and discipline, but the sense of accomplishment is worth it. I recommend googling “music to focus by” and playing whatever you like in that category to help you stay on task. Set a timer and move your phone out of sight.

7. Take a scary action. If an opportunity comes along that makes you uncomfortable, yet you are intrigued, try very hard to push yourself to take some action. If the opportunity is showing up, you may be ready and you don’t realize it. You may be directed to another action that will prepare you. That kind of synchronicity is common.

8. You don’t know until you try. So try, with an open mind. Then make a more informed decision.

9. Organize and clear space in your schedule to accommodate new options that present themselves so you are not “too busy” to pay attention or evaluate them.

10. If you don’t believe you can do something at this time, ask the question, “what if I didn’t have this belief” and see what emerges for you. Discuss this with an objective party who has your best interest in mind.

In conclusion, look at where you are in your life and career or business. Decide what you want and by when. Evaluate your decision making process and see where “waiting” fits in. Is it more about fear and uncertainty, or is it logical and serving your overall goals? Notice what comes along and consciously decide yes or no. When you want to wait, there’s a lesson in there. Figure out that part of the puzzle and you have new information to move you forward.

U Is For Unity

September 14th, 2017

“There is more power in unity than division.” ~Emanuel Cleaver, United Methodist pastor, American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives

According to, unity means “the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.” I take that to mean that we can accomplish more as a unified group versus individuals doing our own thing. Who is your group, your tribe, your board of directors, your advocates who assist and advise you – not only with your work but also with your personal life? Do they know you as well as you know yourself?

When I conduct career coaching workshops, I tell my clients that they should not be the only ones conducting their job search. It is a lot of work so why do it alone? Instead all of you should enlist the help of others to not only give ideas and suggestions on where to send your resume or which companies to contact but they should also be marketing for you. Yes, I said marketing! These advocates of yours should not only distribute your resume to others but they should also contact others by phone to tell them how great you are. This is especially important for those job seekers who are considering a new industry, function, or career. Human resources people and/or hiring managers get many inquiries so they tend to hire the same types of people they had before. In order to break into that inner circle, you need people who can sell you – almost as if you are a product on a shelf. They need to describe your “product offerings” and explain in detail why you would be a true asset to the company even though you don’t fit their typical mold (i.e. you don’t have the required schooling or experience).

What if you are not looking for a job but instead looking to advance within your own organization? You still need advocates! Their roles in this case are to steer you in front of decision makers/leaders so you get the visibility you need. They can do this by assigning you to special projects, recommending you to work on matrixed teams so you interact with other departments, and/or creating opportunities for you to make presentations to senior management.

If you are an entrepreneur, advocates are essential to growing your business. Advertising can only go so far in promoting your product or service. Most people rely on recommendations from friends and family so advocates play a key role in introducing your business into circles of people you may have never had access to. They also can comment on your integrity and your work ethic that clients and customers can’t always experience early on so that builds instant brand loyalty quickly.

Regardless of how your unified group works for you, it is always advantageous to have such trusted advisors that you can rely on. If you don’t think you have such a group, start by being an advocate for someone else and learn what works for them. From there, approach others to assist you. You should have your advocates be from different industries, functions, etc. but definitely they must have different mindsets so they can give you differing opinions which will be invaluable for you in the long run.