How we wait matters. Waiting is inevitable in our worlds. It may be for your future spouse, your first child, a position, test results, or anything in between. One of the most problematic things for us as human beings is that we are not wired to wait.
One thing that Shannon and I strive to do for our kids is to create experiences. A couple of weeks ago, we took the kids to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We were there for three days, most of it was spent waiting. Waiting in lines. Lines to get on the shuttle, lines to get into the park, lines for food, and lines to get on rides.
The attention to detail at Universal Studios is unreal, especially when it comes to waiting. Each ride had between a twenty and ninety minute wait. Not sure about you, but that is a long time to stand in line. Even on the twenty-minute side of things!
I had experienced some other amusement type parks before and how I waited was totally different than this experience. In most parks that I had been to there was only one area to wait. The area is typically outside, with lines winding back and forth, and exposed to the elements. In most cases in extreme heat! It was nowhere near the experience of how we waited at Universal.
Universal Studios did it right. They created an experience that made the wait worth it. Here are eight leadership lessons generated from this experience on how we wait matters:
Wait With The Right People
I had three special people to wait in these long lines with. As we wait in life, make sure you do it with the right people. John Maxwell says that you are the sum of the five people you hang around the most. In a season of waiting, who we wait with matters.
Waiting is difficult enough as it is. Do not make the wait worse by surrounding yourself with negative, toxic, and manipulative people. Wait with people who will grow and stretch you. People that are positive, encouraging, and supportive. Wait with the right people, it is critical.
You have two options when you wait in long lines. One, you gripe and complain about the wait. Two, look forward to the adventure that awaits. I promise that the wait will feel shorter with the latter perspective.
The person who chooses option one will have a negative attitude and poor perspective. They may say, “the ride was great, but not worth the wait.” The one who chooses option two will have an anticipatory and optimistic view of the wait. They may say, “we had to wait a while, but the wait was absolutely worth it and the ride was incredible! The lens through which we look at things changes everything. Perspective matters.
Do Not Waste The Wait
On the flip side of things, you can waste the experience of waiting by growing complacent and drifting. My pastor and good friend Mike Linch said at a Lunch with a Leader Event that you, “do not drift into good health.” This is so true. You must go to the gym, eat right, and manage your stress to improve your health. As much as we would like it to be the case, we cannot sit on the couch, watch television and become healthier. This applies to leadership too. You do not drift into becoming a better leader.
Be Productive and Grow
Waiting is a great opportunity to be productive and grow. While we were waiting we wre productive. We planned out what ride to go to next, made reservations for lunch, talked about the rides we had rode, and anticipated the ride we were about to take. When we wait in leadership, take advantage of that time to be productive.
Some of my best ideas, productivity, and reflective has taken place in seasons of waiting. What can you do while you wait? Grow! Read that leadership book that has been sitting on the shelf, subscribe to a Podcast, follow a leadership communicator on YouTube, or maybe invest in current or future relationships. Just do not waste the wait, grow.
Do Not Look Too Far Ahead
Our tendency when we are in a long line is to constantly look ahead. You establish where the end is and you focus on it. Focus is good, but it does not make the line move faster.
The thing that Universal does well is to create experiences that keep you from looking too far ahead. Instead of one giant line where everyone waits, they break it up into smaller wait lines. You wait a little, then you move through areas, you wait a little more. You can admire the attention to detail in the architecture and they build anticipation through digital displays establishing the theme for the ride. Most importantly, you wait with air conditioning, which is much appreciated in July!
Do not get caught looking too far ahead. It will not make the line move faster.
The Experience Erases The Wait
We have all sat in long lines somewhere, but if our perspective is right, you will forget the wait. Once we get a glimpse of what God has on the other side of waiting, nothing else matters. Here is what we cannot do. We cannot let our inability to remain patient and properly wait prevents us from experiencing the ride. The ride is the best part of waiting. It makes everything worth it.
Patience and Discipline Will Get You to the Ride
Two things can be difficult for us in the waiting process, patience and discipline. Our worlds are busy, our patience is tested. Self-discipline is hard. The two of these things combined make waiting easier. They will insure you stay in line and get to enjoy the ride.
Enjoy The Ride
My definition of vacation does not include waiting in lines or riding roller coasters. Put me on a beach, with a fishing pole, a good book, and a cold beverage and I am good. I was more tired when I got back from the trip than when I arrived. This trip was not about me. It was about Grant and Ashtyn. It was about an experience for the four of us, together. Something bigger than me.
After you are done waiting, enjoy the ride. Most of the rides there lasted only a couple of minutes. It was over before you knew it. One of the most common things that a young parent is told is, “time flies.” There could not be a truer statement.
It felt like just yesterday we were headed home from the hospital with both kids. We now have a seventh grader and a freshman. Every single line we waited in that trip was worth it. We will never get that time back, but we enjoyed the ride.
Time is the most valuable resource we can give to someone or something. It is also our most limited and demanded resource. In life, we have no clue how much time we have left. The last thing we want to do is expend the limited time we have left on waiting. We must take advantage of any waiting we have left to do.
Wait with the right people, remember that your perspective matters, do not waste the wait, be productive and grow, do not look too far ahead, let the experience erase the wait, exercise patience and discipline, and enjoy the ride.
If you get one thing out of this message, know this. What is waiting for you on the other side of that long line is better than you can imagine. Whatever or whoever it is. How you wait matters.
Ordinary to Extraordinary Intersection
During a season of waiting…Are you waiting with the right people? What is your perspective? Are you wasting the season? Are you growing and being productive? Are you looking too far ahead? Are you enjoying the ride?