Three Must-Dos to Stop Waiting and Start Creating

by Alli Polin on March 4, 2014

Stop waiting and start creating

I’m writing this from the waiting room of the tire store.  Four new perfect wheels about to replace tires that were so worn out, if I waited another month to change them, I’d be in real trouble.  Waiting in the waiting room, waiting to change, always waiting.

Waiting feels like what we’re supposed to do.  Heck, we learn to do it well from a young age.  My son called from his bedroom last night and he needed me “right away.”  Did I pop up and run to his room?  No, I didn’t.  He was met with “Honey, I’ll be there in a few minutes.  Just wait.”  Wait for what you need.  No applause for speaking up for his needs, asking for what’s missing, so he can reach his goals (in this case, a good night’s sleep.)  His needs interrupted mine and it was his turn to wait.

Most of us have developed world champion waiting skills over the course of our lives.  I often hear from clients:

  • I’m waiting for the number on the scale to go down. (to be happy)
  • I’m waiting for my business to pick up. (to feel like a success)
  • I’m waiting until the time is right. (to do what I can’t wait to do)
  • I’m waiting until I have the money to take my dream to the next level. (to live an inspired life)

Unfortunately, I do not have a magic wand to wave at you and zap you to your ideal moment.  You and I both have to go through the living required to get from HERE to THERE.  Notice, I did not write the waiting required… it’s the living, the leading, and the creating that will make the magic happen.

What if waiting was no longer a passive activity of sitting on your butt hoping that things will happen the way you want them to happen?  What if waiting is actually an opportunity for action?


I’m tired of waiting because without a doubt, when I make it to the next stop, the train I’m on is going to keep going.  There is always somewhere new to go, something more to reach for and definitely more joy to embrace.  Come on!  Would you rather be in the driver’s seat or staring out the window as monotonous scenery flashes by in a blur?

Turn on your hustle!

Tap into these three must-dos transform your wait into inspiration.  Just don’t try them all at once. 

ONE:  Don’t zone out, tune in! 

Turns out you have two hours in line at the DMV?  Hanging in the doctors waiting room?  Bring your laptop and write a blog post, respond to email or return that phone call you’ve been putting off.

Better yet, if you’re there with someone else, tune into them!  Be fully present as you talk to your child about their day, play a learning game or crack some jokes.  Don’t waste it.

In this new perspective, waiting time is never wasted time and it could be some of your most productive hours of the day because you’re planted in one place.

TWO: Take a deep breath and ease into the wait. 

If you’re like me, you’re on-the-go 24/7, why turn up your nose at a moment of stillness?  Take a beat and be amazed at what’s in front of you, be a people watcher.  Some of the best leadership lessons come to life in our everyday experiences.  I watched a father teach his son how to climb a fence and was struck by how leaders create the space to grow.  If I was busy texting, I would have missed this special moment.

Ideas spark left and right when you stop long enough for them to catch up with you. Also, don’t forget, deep breaths and appreciating “what is” doesn’t have to stop you from occasionally opening Evernote to capture all of your creative thinking.

THREE: Remember why you buy a lottery ticket. 

Yeah, maybe you buy to win but I buy to dream.  The 24 to 48 hour wait between the time the ticket hits my hot little hand and they announce the winning numbers, I’m planning and playing.  Where will we go on vacation?  Who will we call and tell first?  How much will we give away right away?  What if we started a foundation?  What would it do?  It is so much fun to imagine that I almost always feel like I’ve gotten my dollars worth from my purchase.  I’m ready to GO and I can literally feel the possibility zooming around and filling the air.

Now imagine dreaming that big now.  Who says you have to win the lottery to start the foundation or take a vacation?  Tap into the energy of the lottery ticket and write your own ticket.

What are you waiting for in your life and what step can you take today to transform your wait into a time to create?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy Guthrie March 4, 2014 at 9:11 am

Excellent reminder Alli. There’s no time like the present.


Alli Polin March 7, 2014 at 3:54 am

Joy, You said it. That’s really what it all boils down to… No need to wait until the end when we all have now.

Thank you.


Jon Mertz March 4, 2014 at 9:52 am


I use waiting time as a time to think. Waiting time provides that space to renew. Other times, waiting is an opportunity to work on projects outside the normal day’s work flow. It gives me time to work on those “extra” projects that keep me energized.

Great thoughts on being in the moment and using the moment fully!



Alli Polin March 7, 2014 at 3:56 am

Waiting is an ideal window for renewal, Jon. Thank you for sharing how you use that time to not only stay productive but renew and refresh.

I once worked for a Partner that told me that we will all push so hard and work so many hours that when we are in the moments of waiting, we should grab them not to fill every moment with more doing but with being and breathing. Excellent advice that has stood the test of time.

Thanks, Jon!


Terri Klass March 4, 2014 at 10:26 am

I actually plan out my waiting time carefully. If I have to wait in a doctor’s office or I know I will arrive at a client early, I think about what I can do while waiting for the activity to start. Sometimes I even bring a great trade magazine so I can look forward to catching up on my professional stuff.

I love how you took a different spin on waiting and made it all about an opportunity! What a great way to welcome waiting!

Great post, Alli!


Alli Polin March 7, 2014 at 3:53 am

Terri you are a role model for me! Planning your waiting time! It shows your commitment to get the most out of life.

Welcoming waiting is a whole new spin and one I’m trying to adopt.

Appreciate you!


Chery Gegelman March 4, 2014 at 11:59 am

Alli, One of my favorite placed to leverage the waiting has become the airport, and the airplane.

For many years the plane was a space for reflection, and planing that consistently took my team to the next level.

One day I realized that the airport was full of people with real stories and real needs: some just needed helps with their small children while they traveled, others needed help finding a gate, others needed career advice, some needed appreciation for their service, some needed encouragement for their dreams, and others needed a stranger to share their grief and confusion about the death of a loved one, or a life-altering job loss. It has become a wonderful way to grow myself, develop the people and organizations I serve, it’s given me fresh eyes and deepened my understanding. Thank you the quick trip to the airport!


Alli Polin March 7, 2014 at 3:53 am

You are truly amazing. Most people go to the airport and get ready to be annoyed, do work, take a nap or generally close themselves off. You, my friend, use the wait as a time for engagement, connection, relationships and making a difference. How beautiful is that?

Thank you for sharing, Chery. Lucky to know you.


Lolly Daskal March 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm


There is no time LIKE RIGHT NOW.

Thanks for sharing.

Love your thoughts



Alli Polin March 7, 2014 at 3:40 am

Thanks, Lolly! I know that this is definitely the way you live and lead. The time is NOW!



LaRae Quy March 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

One expression that absolutely chills me is “I’m just killing time.”

And that is often our reaction when we’re in a holding pattern or waiting…great post, Alli, that reminds us that time is precious and we need to fully embrace every moment.


Alli Polin March 7, 2014 at 3:40 am

Killing time is opportunity lost. We have so many other choices available to us and waiting is the perfect time to bring them to life.

Thanks, LaRae!


Gilly March 9, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Alli -thanks for the reminder that we can turn a limiting situation into something we can turn to our advantage.
I reflected in a blog post a while back that we often use waiting and being patient interchangeably. I came to the conclusion that waiting is often passive and brings us to a halt: Often we are waiting for others, traffic lights to change, our turn to see the doctor. While waiting is about being still and passive, patience is about being active in making a choice to give something time to unfold. hence “patience is a virtue.”
Your call to action while we are waiting, changes being stuck to being patient.


Alli Polin March 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm

What a gorgeous addition, Gilly. Yes, I’m with you, waiting definitely feels passive. We are at the mercy of the wait and it’s patience that turns it to a place of choice. When we’re patient, we decide to accept that the time is ours to wait, waste or be present and engage.

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts here!


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