I’ll be the first to admit it. When I think of something that I want or want to do, I want it NOW. Not “later.” Not “tomorrow.” NOW!!
I’ve “kind of” mellowed over the years, but this trait has always been my fall-back attitude. And, truth be told, I’ve had a couple of supervisors over the years with whom I’ve had a “let’s face facts” conversation about this tendency.
It’s probably a good thing that, in the latter years of my professional activities, I’ve been in the classroom introducing young men and women to the public relations profession, a career field that occupied the first 30-plus years of my working life. I’ve learned, albeit not without some “differences of opinion” expressed by a few students over the years, to temper my expectations…and my temper.
The deal is, from my perspective, that when you ask (or tell…memories of my active duty Air Force days) someone to do something, you’re making that request for a reason. It’s not “make-work” stuff; it’s REAL. And, especially in public relations, if there’s something that needs to be fixed, reputations and/or customers can be lost if nothing is done.
So two parts to this rambling…
One, be real and be realistic in your request and your expectations. I once lost it with my commanding officer at one Air Force assignment because he had no clue what my job entailed and he kept demanding, basically, the impossible. I “made” him take on my job, and I took on his role. It took him about five minutes of this role-playing to realize that what he was asking/demanding that I do simply could not be done. (Note: It helped that he and I were personal friends in off-duty life, so he didn’t perceive my actions as being insubordinate.)
Two, learn from your own mistakes and those of others. No one is perfect. Period. We all have our flaws, and we all manage to muck things up once in a while. I learned as a very young boy that sticking a metal fingernail file in a wall socket is not advisable. Things go “bzzzzt”…the lights go out throughout the house…and you turn, according to my Mother, a very interesting shade of purple. I also learned in Hawaii during my tenure as Communications Director for the Blood Bank of Hawaii that it’s not a good idea to have a pile of metal poles dumped into one of the four lanes of a heavily-traveled city street. Something about “impeding traffic,” according to the Honolulu police commissioner.
At the same time as all this, though, you must not lose sight of your goal. What is it that you hope to accomplish?
And, what’s required to make it happen?
> Who do you need to help you get it done?
> What resources do you need? Are they readily available?
> What’s the timeline? When does it HAVE to be done?
All this doesn’t come easily to everyone. But if you really want to stand out as a leader, you have to get comfortable with the process. And you have to accept that you, too, will probably stumble along the way. Guess what? You’re human, just like the rest of us!
So tighten up your shoelaces and get started.
Oh, by the way, even tying shoelaces takes patience! How many times have you rushed to tie your shoelaces only to have one or the other come undone while you’re rushing to get “somewhere” on time?
Patience truly is a virtue. Don’t rush it!