Waiting for your turn might be forever

"If Rosa Parks had taken a poll before she sat down in the bus in Montgomery, she'd still be standing."- Mary Frances Berry
Few weeks ago I was conducting field monitoring visit in one of the program sites. I was seated in the office catching up with some work when an elderly man entered the office. He was a community leader who I had met earlier on. We were reintroduced and he greeted me enthusiastically. He didn’t understand English and I did not understand his local language so we ended it with just greetings. He then went out and I thought that was it. Shortly after he walked in again, this time not alone. He had a young man with him and he seemed to be the one directing the young man. He pulled a seat for the young man and there they were! Seated in front of me! He had just called himself for a meeting…with me…without my notice. The young man was the translator and we spent some minutes chatting. By the time he left I was quite amused. His cultural orientation enabled him to think of meetings as not disruptions but what he does because he wants or needs to. I may not appreciate if everyone took up my time without prior arrangement, there is need for planning, appointments. However, the lesson from this man stuck with me.

I realize how many times I hesitate from action as I wait for the appropriate time or opportunity. I postpone actions that I need to take since “time is not yet ripe”. I am not even sure the term procrastinate quite captures it, it is more of waiting for my turn instead of jumping right in. When I think of a goal I aim for, often I will start thinking about the pros and cons. I will wait for the right moment. I will wait to gather more information. It seems like there is a time that will come when it will all be “clear to go” and the lights will all be green and voila!

That is not necessarily the case. In fact many times we just never think we are ready until we jump into it and learn in the process. We make mistakes, we learn, we make corrections and we move on. Most of the mistakes may not be obvious before you start. I can think of many things I have postponed from starting, from doing because the time doesn’t seem right. Eventually time goes and still they do not seem right. I am afraid of starting, I am scared I will not do it right. Ultimately it remains undone. In that case I never get to find out how able I was to undertake the task. Sometimes I hesitate to ask of someone some favor, and imagine it won’t be possible.

We all get to that point when we know something can be done, but since it doesn’t have to be done, or at least not yet, we sit back and wait for an ‘opportune moment’. It could be an idea that you have to do something, to start up something but you keep thinking “I am not ready yet” only to realize someone else has started and ran with it.

You may not get permission, do it anyway.

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