It was a soul crushing feeling. I had worked so hard, developed so much original thought, rallied my team around a compelling vision and it was blatantly evident that the success we wanted wasn’t going to happen. As I sat with my head in my hands I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to cry, pray, or go to the bar.
Then, I felt a hand of a mentor on my shoulder. He leaned down and whispered: “Your Time Will Come.”
Not only was that the last thing I wanted to hear, but for some reason it made me more upset. Instead of voicing my opinion, I just left my head in my hands and let him leave the room. Over the next few days, I managed to avoid the tears and drowning my sorrow at a bar. Instead, I allowed his words to really sink in. He was right, but he wasn’t just right about me and my team, he was right about everyone. It got me thinking: what are the signs that a professional or team is on a path towards success and that ultimately, “their time will come?”
For 5 years I did a job that I liked, but didn’t love. The afternoons were long and left me constantly daydreaming about the upcoming weekend. It wasn’t until I discovered my passion for leadership development, writing, and helping others become leaders that I realized what I was missing. Passion is defined as: the willingness to suffer for something you love. There are so many professionals that aren’t willing to suffer for their work. What’s worse is many people suffer for a job they can’t stand. Most people think the key word is “passion” but the key word is actually “right.” People can find passion in sports, games, etc. but those aren’t typically things that can make a big impact on others. You will know your passion is “right” when you begin to make a positive impact on others.
On the Follow My Lead Podcast, Rob Jeppsen said something that hit me like a brick wall, “In order to be successful in whatever you do, don’t be afraid of experience first.” We live in this instant gratification world that makes us believe we are ready for many things before we actually are. There are many reasons people are in their current roles. Maybe your current role is setting you up for being really successful in your next role. The key is that you are willing to gain the experience and maintain enough patience to delay immediate gratification.
Angela Duckworth wrote an amazing book called Grit that opened my eyes. I don’t know if it’s scientifically proven, but I am in the camp that believes the #1 predictor and factor of success is grit. Grit is the ability to work hard over a long period of time towards a worthwhile goal. It allows us to keep moving forward in the face of obstacles, adversity, or misfortune. In order for you keep moving forward when someone says, “Your time will come,” you must have grit. So no matter where you are in your professional journey, it’s paramount you are doing challenging things that have a high likelihood of failure. The best way to continue to develop grit is to try, fail, and then try again.
Looking back 8 years it’s crystal clear why I didn’t succeed in reaching my dream of being a successful pro golfer on the PGA Tour. My world revolved around myself, and I was concerned about #1 about 24 hours a day. If I had success at that time in my life, I wouldn’t have been prepared to handle it. Once you begin to attribute the positives in your life to people other than yourself, you’re on your way. When you start helping others on their journey, you are closer to “your time coming.”
Nick Saban, head football coach for the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, is famous for his commitment to the PROCESS. He is relentless in keeping his team and coaching staff focused on only the things that they are able to control. These things include, but are not limited to, effort, execution, and teamwork. It’s nearly impossible to produce good results when that’s all you’re focused on. The more you can immerse yourself into the process of what produces results the better off you will be.
What’s most interesting is, even if you do all of these really well you still aren’t guaranteed an arrival time, but I do believe it eventually will come. Instead of looking at your clock, waiting for your “time” spend it focused on the things you can control - your thoughts and actions!
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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.