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W For Wait

May 23, 2020

W For Wait


A few months ago I introduced a friend to someone who was looking for a good personal assistance. She went for the interview and was sure she had nailed the job, but two months later, she still hadn’t gotten any response from that interview. One evening I got a text message from her saying she never got the job. So I asked her whether she had received any feedback or official communication from that company confirming this and she said no. I asked her how she had known that she had missed the opportunity if she had not gotten any feedback from the company. All she could say is that she knew she had not gotten the job. Then unfortunately, she started being negative about the location among other things. I didn’t say much but I do remember telling her to maintain a positive mental attitude while she was waiting. 


What she didn’t know is that I knew she was the only candidate who had been interviewed for that position. Secondly, she didn’t know her potential employer had already confirmed to me that she had done well in the interview and that he had made up his mind that he was going to hire her not for the position she had interviewed for, but for a much higher position. What she also didn’t know is that the reason he had not called her yet was because they had just shifted their office to a new location, and the office had not been setup to accommodate the P. A. Lastly, what she also didn’t know is that this was a new role he had created after realizing he needed someone to help him out with some sensitive issues, hence his asking me to get someone for him. In a nutshell while she had given up waiting, he on the other hand was waiting to finish setting up her office. 


Unfortunately I cannot tell this lady what is going on, and neither can I tell the potential employer what's going on with her. I am just there in between watching and waiting to see what is going to happen in the end.


It is for this reason I have chosen wait as my word for the day. W for Wait.


Waiting for something you desperately need but are not sure whether or not you are going to get can be very frustrating. Sometimes the frustration can be so intense that one ends up making a very grave mistake, like settling for less.  To wait successfully, there are important attributes you must have, patience being top of the list. But before we get to those attributes, let’s agree on one thing; a person who waits is known as a waiter. If you think I’m joking, check what the dictionary defines a waiter as. It defines a waiter as, “a person who waits for a time, event, or opportunity.” That’s the dictionary, not Liz.


So, while waiting, what do you do? You do what waiters do. And what do waiters do? They serve. That’s what waiters do; serve. I bet you didn’t see this coming, but if you have been following the Survival Alphabet series then you know I’m always going to twist something.


So, how do you serve while waiting? I’ll share two ways:


  • Encourage someone else – this will help you shift your attention from you and what you are waiting for, to someone else’s need. This is one of the best ways to remind you that life is not always about you. Besides, when you encourage someone or do something for someone else, it has a ripple effect in that it makes you happy, just as it makes the other person happy. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.” Serving others has many hidden benefits including opening doors of blessings for yourself. Serving means giving, and just like one of my all time favorite roots reggae artist the late Lucky Dube sang, “blessed is the hand that giveth, than the one that taketh”.


  • Serve God – there are many ways of doing this but you will realize that most of them revolve around other people. For instance, when you invite people to church, or you pray for someone, or you visit and pray with a sick person, all those are different ways of serving God. The problem is that most people think serving God is only done at the pulpit. You don’t have to be a clergyman or woman to serve God. What you do to and for others is service to God in itself. Like my favorite Book says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)​

This reminds me of a quote from the late Martin Luther King Jnr that says, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as  Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.


Now that we’ve established that as long as you are waiting you are a “waiter”, what makes a waiter a waiter? What are the qualities of an exemplary waiter? I know they are many but for purposes of this article/episode I’ll just focus on five:

a)  Patience -  This is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. For instance when the chef delays a customer’s order yet the customer is busy spewing profanities at the waiter, it will require a lot of patience from the waiter  to remain calm and objective. Similarly, when waiting for something you desire desperately, it will take all the patience you can master to not lose your cool.​


b)  Flexible – A good waiter is always ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances. For instance, a client might make an order for something then halfway through its preparation he or she changes their mind. How the waiter handles that situation is dependent on how flexible they are. Similarly, when you are waiting for something, flexibility is needed because someone else is in control of the situation and not you. For instance, since the corona pandemic hit the world, there are many people who had applied for jobs or sent business proposals that have had to be put on hold indefinitely. As they are waiting, they need to be able to adapt and change to plan B or C or even Q in order to survive while waiting for their answers. They should also be flexible enough to handle disappointing feedback. 


c)  Resourceful – a resourceful person is someone who has the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. This happens to waiters a lot, where for instance a diner comes in and finds that the table he had reserved has been mistakenly given to someone else. The waiter will require a lot of resourcefulness to handle the situation to ensure the diner still dines at the restaurant and leaves the restaurant a very satisfied customer with a promise to come back another day. In the same way, you will need to be very resourceful as you are waiting in order to ensure you don’t get frustrated as you wait. For instance, you can offer to intern or volunteer at the organization where you’ve been eyeing a job opportunity. The day an opening appears guess who will get the opportunity first? Yep! That will be you. Now that’s being resourceful.


d)  Has lots of common sense – Common sense is having sound judgment, not necessarily based on any kind of specialized knowledge. When you are smart, level-headed and able to understand and assess a situation, this is an example of having a lot of common sense.

A perfect example of common sense is knowing that you cannot write an examination in a red ink. It is also common sense to know that you cannot go hiking in 6 inch stilettoes, just like it is also common sense to know that no matter how much you love him, you cannot give your 2 year old son your car keys to drive you to the market.

Similarly, there are things you know you should do or not do while waiting for something. For instance, if you just planted beans in your garden, common sense dictates that you should not expect to find full-grown beanstalks in the morning, unless of course it is an upgraded version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Unfortunately, like someone said, “common sense is the most limited of all natural resources”. This is especially true when someone is waiting for something they desperately need. In Benjamin Franklin’s voice, “Common sense is something that everyone needs, few have, and none think they lack.” Be among the few who have it.


e)  Hygienic & well-groomed – a hygienic person is someone who adheres to conditions or practices that maintain health and prevent disease, especially through cleanliness. On the other hand a well-groomed person is someone who is clean, tidy and smartly dressed. I don’t think you would be too pleased to be served by a waiter who comes to you reeking of sweat, whose mouth stinks and is shabbily dressed. Actually, I believe you would lose your appetite the moment you see him coming your way.

Similarly, while you are waiting, you should ensure you are hygienic and well-groomed. How you might ask? I’ll tell you.

a. Practice oral hygiene – be careful with your mouth. Though it is important to brush your teeth and tongue, by oral hygiene I mean that you be careful with the words you allow yourself to speak about your waiting situation. Are they positive or negative words? Refer to the article or episode I did a few days ago on U for Upgrade. 


b. Groom your mind – taking care of your appearance is important. The fact that you are waiting for something doesn’t mean you should let yourself look like some bushman/woman. But while it is important to look presentable and smart physically, the most important grooming you can ever do is mental. Clean your mind and dress it accordingly. In other words, mind your thoughts because they eventually become your words. What this indirectly means is that for you to practice oral hygiene, you have to groom your mind. Clothe your mind with a positive mental attitude always.


So, what are you waiting for right now? I hope you now know how to behave while you wait. Remember, while you wait, do what waiters do. Serve.


Listen to the episode on W for Wait on my podcast here.


Be ignited. Be inspired. Be influenced. Serve as you wait to become the best version of yourself you can ever be. God bless you, stay safe and stay sane.



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