Waiting tends to suck. No one wants to do it and yet, we all end up waiting at one time or another.
There’s two types of waiting; anticipated and unanticipated.
Anticipated waiting, such as waiting for the results of a test or waiting for your book to be released from the publisher (ehm – especially if it’s WAAY longer than you expected it to be), we can plan for. While we may be impatient for the results, we also know it’s coming and can plan for it. We may plan to keep ourselves busy and keep our mind off the waiting. Or we may focus on staying positive or preparing ourselves for a poor outcome.
The second type of waiting is when you are waiting unexpectedly, such as waiting in line at the DMV or the grocery store. Waiting in traffic or for a delayed flight. Unanticipated waiting catches us off guard and often leaves us feeling out of control, frustrated or angry. Our plans are thwarted and can throw off other deadlines.
As business owners we are accustomed to being in control of many things. When we are forced to wait, particularly unexpectedly, we are definitely not in control, and that can be incredibly uncomfortable!
When we are waiting and feeling out of control we often go to two places:
- Victimhood – “Why am I always in the slow lane”? “This happens to me every time I’m in a hurry”.
- Frustration and blame – This has more of an angry tone to it. “This is why I never get my goals accomplished”. “Those kids are always slowing me down”.
I think we can all agree, neither of these places is healthy or helping us (or the people around us) in any way. Let’s take a look at how we can wait and choose how we respond.
Tips for handling waiting more consciously
- Breathe. Taking a few breaths may slow you down and allow you to get ahold of yourself momentarily. You can also take this time to do some focused, meditative breathing that you always intend to do but never make the time for.
- Be productive. Update your to-do list or your shopping list. Delete some of those emails that are nine months old. Have you not made time to call your mom in a while? This is it!
- Practice being mindful and staying in the present. Do a short meditation or a focused prayer or intention setting. Be aware of what’s going on around you – how can you make the most of the situation? Can you be of service in any way?
- Let go. Sometimes the best way to get unstuck is to not focus on the issue, in this instance waiting, and move on to something else. Oftentimes this letting go process is what breaks you free. Accept the situation you are in and do something else.
How you react to situations, particularly the unexpected or uncomfortable, is your choice. Being conscious of how you react to waiting is just one place to focus your attention this week.