You’re driving long distance to an event—perhaps a business conference or a friend’s graduation—and time is of the essence. You prepared well. You packed up needed items, placed the mail on hold, and hit the road on time. “I’ve got snacks and a full tank of gas. No need to even stop,” you brag to yourself, smiling. You just know you’ll arrive with time to spare.
About 2 hours into the ride, you’re in an unexpected roadwork zone, and traffic slows juuuust a bit. No worries, you think. I’ve still got plenty of time to get there.
Then, you see it. Red brake lights in front of you. Not just on one car. On ALL the cars in front of you.
And no one’s moving.
Traffic’s backed up for at least 10 miles. Make that more like 15 miles, according to your map app. Your mouth drops at the enormously long red line snaking up the highway. YOUR highway.
Beads of sweat form. “I’m gonna cut it close at best, be late at worst. UGHHHHHHHH!”
Sound familiar? It’s a classic case of Hurry Up and Wait, a life lesson that upstages other lessons quite often for me.
I experienced it when the kids were babies. When they’d get sick, I’d say, “I can’t wait until they can talk and tell me what’s hurting.” I wanted to hurry the process, but had to wait for that milestone to appear in its own time.
Or, when I began freelancing a few years ago and wanted instant success. I was swiftly reminded that success is not microwave-instant. It takes time, sweat equity, and a LOT of hard work.
When we try to rush timing, we can create a pretty hot mess. I know I’ve done so—and paid dearly for it.
In my 20s, I rushed to relocate to another city. I literally took the first job offered at a prestigious organization. I wanted to live in a new city so much that I didn’t probe deeply enough during the interview. My intuition warned, “Slow down, Karin. Are you sure this is the right place for you?” But, I ignored it, tossed all caution to the wind, and moved full steam ahead.
And almost immediately, I realized that haste does, in fact, make waste.
The work environment was toxic.
Management treated our small team like second class citizens, undervaluing our work and expertise.
The IT staff guru tampered with my computer and admitted it–but no disciplinary action was taken.
A key leader even walked the halls each morning to catch tardy staff, kind of like a truant officer. She moved ever-so-slowly past our open doors, making eye contact but not saying a word. Just a steady, intimidating gaze that told us we were being watched. Closely. It was all highly stressful for my 20-something-year-old self, to say the least.
Less than one year later, my doctor prescribed for me the same medicine my 90-year-old grandmother took daily for her hypertension.
In rushing to a new job, I was Hurrying Up–but I didn’t Wait to be sure I was even on the right path in the first place. And it cost me my peace of mind and good health.
In contrast, years later I began dreaming of working for myself. After my hubby gave me the loving push I needed to leap, I finally did so. But not until after setting up my business while still working full-time, and even landing clients before my last day of employment. While it’s not perfect, it’s working out well–and I have peace knowing I’m doing exactly what I was created to do.
Having to Hurry Up and Wait requires a complex mix of doing our part to prepare, while being willing to surrender to Life’s timing. Because, let’s admit it: Deep down, we know we cannot rush ideal timing. Yet, we often want what we want, when we want it—even if we know the timing is way off and leads to messes we must clean up. Ideal timing, on the other hand, is usually gentle and clear. We don’t have to force a fit. It opens doors, gives wings to our dreams.
We just have to learn how to wait.
If something is for your good–to stretch you, grow you, allow you to walk into your dreams and goals–, it will happen when Life says it’s time and you’re ready for it. And not a moment, month, or year sooner.
So, in the meantime, Hurry Up and Wait. Hurry Up by doing your part and staying prepared. Put in the time, energy and work necessary to get where you want to be. And in the process of Hurrying Up, exercise patience. Wait for the ideal time. It will be the open door that is clearly labeled This Way to Your Dreams.
Your Turn: In what areas of life are you having to Hurry Up and Wait?
Photo Credit: Gerhard Gellinger via pixabay.com