By Laurie Cure
With spring coming to a close and summer ready to blossom, I am reminded in my work and life of the deep need to respect the timing of events. Farmers and gardeners know that you cannot bring a seed to life prematurely. It requires time, space, nurturing, and patience. We water the dry, seemingly empty ground, trusting that our efforts will reap a reward worth sowing. We wait, knowing that something is occurring under the surface that we cannot see, believing that one day soon, our efforts will pay off.
Too often, we force action when we need to value flow. We move into reaction, when what we really need to do is to create space for learning. We act, when it is time to merely observe. How often do you push a project forward before its time has ripened?
In one of David Whyte’s poem’s he says, “ let the apple ripen on the branch beyond your need to take it down”. On many occasions, I find myself picking an unripe apple and waiting for it to be ready. I bring it in the house and leave it in the window. It will never taste the same as had it ripped on the branch, but our impatience pushes things too quickly. In leadership, how often is this true for us? We force project deadlines, we force employee learning, or we engage before its time.
I often sit with executive teams and watch them as they wrestle with a difficult issue. In the corporate world, there is generally little space for “wait and see”. There is also often little forgiveness for errors or mistakes in decision making. This fear continues to bind us to choices that have not matured; situations that require ripening. We rush the process and forget the wisdom that surfaces from pausing.
The gift of a strong leader is that they have learned and know when to observe and when to move; how to pause and when to act. They can discern with the utmost precision, the best timing. Ultimately, they have learned how to be in flow. They have learned how to balance BEING and DOING.