Many years ago, when I was going through a tough time and felt like I had lost just about everything (in fact I had literally lost all my material possessions as they had just been stolen), I got a little down on myself.
I sat on the end of the bed and I questioned myself (it wasn’t even my bed as I was staying in a hotel, as my work meant I travelled a lot). Do you know what? I didn’t ask myself very good questions. In fact they were actually really bad questions. Of course this also meant that my mind went into overdrive to provide answers. As the questions were poor, you can probably start to picture the quality of answers I was finding.
So early the next morning I got a call from my boss. It wasn’t exactly a “daily support call”. You know the type. Those ones where the manager thinks 2 out of 3 ain’t bad i.e. they are daily and they are a call. I was lucky. I had a boss who called me when I needed calling, and we spoke about what needed speaking about. This time it was very much support. It was all about me (funnily enough I actually quite liked that. Go on, admit it, you like it too when people call you up to talk about you). So my boss talks with me for a while and asked how I am doing. He didn’t accept my throw away “I’m fine” or see it as an opportunity to move on. It wasn’t a matter of him secretly exhaling a “phew” under his breath and seizing the chance to discuss work or my activity plans for the day. No, he genuinely and kindly asked me better questions, getting me to open up and provide different answers. As we started to get past the initial, natural defence and bravado, the following exchange happened –
Boss – “Do you know what, one day you are likely to look back on this time and laugh”
Me – “yeah, I imagine I probably will”
Boss – “Then why wait?”
I coughed, I laughed, I may have even cried a little bit, but I did not find an excuse. I found myself immediately feeling better and drawing a line in the sand. If I was going to move past this and I was going to get on with it at some point, then “why wait?” Why not now? So I did. I got up, got dressed (in the only clothes I possessed at that point), and got on with things.
I now try and apply many of those lessons into various aspects of my life. There was the call itself. My boss knew it was the right thing to do, to reach out to me. My boss knew that I needed to talk and helped me to do that. My boss listened. Then there was the questions and advice. When my children say “daddy I am going to be a … when I grow up” my wife and I will often respond with “why wait?”
How often do you put stuff off? Assuming that you will have to have more money, more time, more skills (how do you actually get those if you wait?), more knowledge, more friends, more contacts? And the list goes on. Stop saying, one day I’ll… Start, or get it off your “to-do” list. If you want to write, then write, and then you will be a writer. If you want to paint, then paint, and you will immediately be an artist. This is not about good, bad, excellent or indifferent. This is about doing and being. Everyone who ever achieved anything, started somewhere. My gift to you is this question – if it is important then “WHY WAIT?”.
So what are you waiting for?
Let me know your stories of the “why wait?” outlook.
NB – just to finish the above story about my previous boss. He did actually admit to me at a later stage that his call was not a completely altruistic act. He told me that he thought that because I had lost everything and therefore had nothing holding me back, that I might leave my job, fly to America, grow a long beard (not sure why this part was relevant) and ride a motor bike across the country and he didn’t want to lose me or have to recruit someone in my place. I suppose it was lucky he didn’t ask me that as a question, or who knows what the answer might have been.