Grateful for the Wait

quarterback throwing

Grateful for the Wait

The waiting period before an opportunity can be the worst.

It’s like purgatory.

The startling line is in your rearview and the finish line is (somewhere) ahead of you, but it’s the middle, waiting game that can be the most grueling.

You’re not there yet and it’s frustrating.

Many people see it as the opportunity to:

  • Give up entirely
  • Give up temporarily and just stop working toward their goals.

Making this choice ends up making their end destination disappointing.

Take for instance, Kurt Warner.

Maybe you know his story. He went from undrafted out of college to stocking grocery shelves at a supermarket to Arena Football League to eventually landing his shot in the NFL and becoming one of the best ever.

It’s like a Disney movie, right? Close.

The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback was recently on a podcast where he shared about that pivotal period in his life stocking grocery shelves.

He told podcast host (and fellow retired NFL QB) Trent Dilfer that one of the things that helped him during that period was to embrace the mentality that his shelf would be stocked better, more organized, and cleaner than any other shelf in the store.

“It probably wasn’t a big deal to the manager. The overnight supervisor most likely didn’t notice it. But in my head it made all the difference. It became a competition every night, and kept me focused on making sure that everything I did was the absolute best. This mindset kept me sharp in my waiting game until I got an opportunity to play again.

Warner went on to say that it’s a good thing that he never made the team during that first mini-camp in Green Bay. If he had, he might have spent a few years as the third-string behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who played in 297 games over 19 years. No missed games = no opportunities for Kurt to take the field.

Instead, he was cut.

He stocked grocery store shelves.

He eventually got an opportunity to play in the Arena Football League, where he learned about quick passing, fast-tempo style that ultimately became one of his calling cards.

His detour to the AFL is actually what helped him develop the skills that made him successful in the NFL at a later date.

Without that pitstop, he might never have honed the skills he needed to capitalize on his big moment later with the St. Louis Rams.

And it all went back to his mentality to “be the absolute best at where I am right now.”

How many of us mail it in our effort & let our mindset slip when we’re in the waiting game – that purgatory between where we are now and where we ultimately want to be?

We left off our effort, or at the very least, become inconsistent at giving our best.

We get angry at God, ourselves, our situation and instead of making the most of this moment, just stop and justify that we’ll give our best when we get that moment.

Unfortunately for most people, stopping in this moment keeps them from every getting to that one. 

Even if they do get that opportunity, they’re ill-equipped to capitalize on it because instead of preparing for it, they wasted their “waiting time.”

We don’t get to set the timeline on our success, but we do determine if we’ll consistently prepare to seize it when an opportunity arrives.

Like Warner shared on the podcast, sometimes taking the longer road to our goal is what best prepares us to make the most of our opportunity when we get it.

“Everything is working out in my favor.”

That’s an affirmation that award-winning art director James Victore spoke to himself every day.

It wasn’t the belief that everything was going to be good, fluffy, or fun for you, but it was embracing the mindset that everything – even the detours and roadblocks – was working out in your favor.

  • Spilled coffee on your shirt heading out to work that forced you to change could’ve been the thing that kept you from getting into an accident on your commute.
  • Flight delay? Perfect time to work on that work presentation you have later this week.
  • Cut from your dream NFL job & forced to stock grocery store shelves? Maybe it’s setting you up to play minor league football and learn the skills you need to succeed in the NFL.

“Everything is working out in my favor” can help shift the internal story you’re telling yourself each day – and just maybe, keep you working during your life’s current “waiting” period.

So that when your time arrives, you’re ready to seize it.

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