Motivational speaker Les Brown has been known for his strong quotables for decades. One particular quote, from his You Gotta Be Hungry speech, is the ultimate anecdote for impatience:

When our children are learning how to walk, how many times will your baby attempt to walk and fall and you just say just sit down? 

When would a baby walk? It will walk when it walks.

What is he talking about?

It comes down to two major points that actually have nothing to do with parenthood: faith and patience. To create anything of value, you need the faith to keep your vision and the patience to know that it will eventually occur.

Brown is comparing our faith to things we absolutely know: We know the sun will rise tomorrow, we know Fall follows summer and, unless there is a unique physical challenge, we know a baby will eventually crawl. It is assumed.

Most of our pain isn't from waiting for something to happen, but from not fully believing it is going to happen. Once an event is assumed, though, then the journey becomes much less difficult - and our energy can be focused on persistence rather than managing doubt.

The double-edged sword

The baby analogy doesn't mean throw caution to the wind - there may be a challenge that prevents the baby from eventually walking. The key is to do a regular check-in to make sure everything is OK, but to not stay in the cautionary space.

Seth Godin's great book The Dip talks about doing regular evaluations to see if your mission is in a "dip", as in a difficult period of time before massive growth, or in a "cul-de-sac", as in a dead end that has you moving in a circle.

The trick is to pull yourself out of the day-to-day grind just long enough to see what real progress you are making.

Are you on course? Can you further extend the runway to your next milestone? Then, by all means, keep going. Your baby will eventually walk.

Published on: Jan 30, 2018