The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.”  – Anonymous


Ever feel like holding out for the right job is a little crazy?


Your unemployment is running down, your bank account has sprung a leak, your confidence is heading south, and yet, you persist in insisting upon ‘the perfect match.’


No?  Maybe you just want ‘a job’, something, just about anything – as long as it’s available NOW, or yesterday.  Either way, there’s a waiting game.  Job searching usually involves more than a comfortable amount of patience – and persistence.


The way I look at it, if you’re going to be waiting anyway, you may as well wait for what you really want.  I’d rather search the mall for two days for the perfect black dress pants than buy the first pair I find on sale that are a bit too big or slightly unflattering, and thus feel uncomfortable wearing them during my presentation on Monday.


We get tired of renting movies on Friday night and start dating the neighbor’s son, even though his interests don’t really match our own.  Hopefully, before this relationship goes too far, we realize aren’t as satisfied as we want or imagined we’d be with a partner, and eventually, we break up, clearer now about our needs in relationship and renewed in our resolve to find those qualities in someone new.


Things can work in a similar way when we are ready to transition from one job to another as well.  Whether we are standing our ground for the right interview outfit, the right company, or the right companionship, we can begin to feel a little nutty waiting, wondering, searching – yet not finding.


Feeling this way myself lately – impatient with a similar process, I put water on to boil for a relaxing cup of tea.  I just needed to stop trying to force something to happen, so decided to call it a day on my work.  I pulled out the last bag of chamomile, and on my Celestial Seasonings box, I encountered the following reminder. “Persistence” said the bold red title banner:


Genius is only the power of making continuous efforts. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it  . . . How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success?  As the tide goes out, so it comes clear in . . . A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.  There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within . . .”


These fine words from Elbert Hubbard remind us that a key element to maintaining our resolve, and our faith, is our belief, both in ourselves, and that, in fact, success is eminent.  Intertwined with these believes is a core assumption that we deserve, and are worthy, of getting what it is we say we want.


I do believe we need to ‘keep on keeping on’, as Bob Dylan says in his song, ‘Tangled Up in Blue’.  Somedays, we go through the motions, just for the sake of going through the motions. There are tasks, they need doing, so we do them. Other days, we are inspired, hopefully, positive, and excited as we pursue new ideas or new opportunities with renewed optimism and faith.


Sometimes, though, as we continue our efforts, I believe we need to make the effort to stop trying quite so hard. Avoid the feeling of forcing things prematurely.  Finding the balance between ‘due diligence’ and overdoing it is an art form, I think. Similar, I’m sure, to the fine line between failure and success that Mr. Hubbard mentions above. This idea of “making something happen’ seems unwise to me.  I’d rather do my legwork, my follow up, my best effort, and then relax, let it go, and trust that I am enough, I’ve done enough, and the right thing – job, pants, boyfriend, what have you – will come in due time.


The task before us is very urgent, so we must slow down.”  – Buddhist saying