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Patience Pays Off (#32)

The Confident Leader

I never liked the first day of school. Too much uncertainty. Who’s in my class? How tough’s the teacher going to be? I longed for being three or four weeks into the school year. I just wanted to hurry up and get past the uncomfortable stage.

Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.
— Earl Monroe (former basketball player)

This Week’s Edition

PATIENCE: Staying uncomfortable long enough to understand the thinking that needs to change and the skill that needs to develop. 

Clarify Your Thinking

Recently, one of the leaders I work with flew his plane to Dallas for our coaching session. We discussed his flight plan given the poor weather. He assured me by saying, “I take seriously any changes in the weather and will cancel a flight before risking a bad situation.”


“That’s great. You don’t let your commitment to the destination override your safety protocols.” I commented.

“No. Some pilots try to get to their destination so fervently that they will overlook new information that makes their original flight plan too risky. It’s called ‘get-there-itis.’ That thinking is responsible for most crashes.”


Consider this parallel to leadership. Leaders trying something new often want to hurry past the uncomfortable stage and get to their destination – completion. Get-there-itis! This causes them to miss crucial information that would lead to a change in course, risking a leadership crash.


Leaders in the discomfort zone should be commended for not retreating back to the comfort zone (despite their instinct to do so). They should also be wary of the instinct to force their way to the finish line because of doubt about their ability to persist in uncomfortable parts of the new project.


Chris, a new leader to the organization, was rushing the start of some new projects. She saw the need for the solutions and was qualified to bring them to the company. She felt a sense of urgency to push to get things going.


Unfortunately, she hit a brick wall of resistance with her new teammates.  She wanted to get beyond the “first day of school” and generate success so quickly (for all the right reasons) that she did not sit with the more uncomfortable aspects of her new role: building relationships, truly understanding the pain points, showcasing her knowledge, etc…


Old thinking: I’ve got to make this happen right now even if new information suggests that I don’t have all the resources or skills in place.


New thinking: I’ve got time. Let me be patient to gather the information I need to make the best plan and get my team on board. I want to do this well the first time for all involved even if I have to be patient with some uncomfortableness. 

post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

I love the quote above which says, “let the game come to you.” This is hard. As leaders who are achievers by nature, we want to control the situation right away and “make” things happen. In reality, there is great wisdom in letting the game come to you. Patience is a virtue.


Watching basketball with my son recently, I’ve noticed that some of the best rebounders don’t fly all over the court grabbing at every possible ball. In the documentary, Last Dance, I was impressed with Dennis Rodman’s description about how he became a world-class rebounder.


He watched how people shot the basketball. He learned how the ball bounced off different parts of the rim and backboard. Then he mastered the art and science of rebounding. Throwing thousands of balls against every part of the hoop, he trained his “instincts” on where to go based on the shot and its ricochet. In effect, his unique approach allowed him to practically predict where the ball was going to be.


For a guy who wasn’t originally thought of as much of a player, Rodman worked hard. He stayed patient with being uncomfortable until he could reach his potential. He did not suffer from get-there-itis!

Boost Your Performance

Do you have a new initiative or leadership task in which you feel the need to rush past uncomfortable parts of the process? What can you do today to slow the game and be patient with being uncomfortable?

1.   Be clear on what you are trying to accomplish (rebounding)

2.   Study what is currently known about endeavor

3.   Ask others on your team and externally what they think

4.   Determine the best initial phase of your effort

5.   Gather information and make adjustments in the beta test phase

6.   Pick up momentum by increasing your activity in game-type situations

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Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

robin pou, chief advisor and strategist

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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