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Karin’s Leadership Articles

What are you waiting for? Is your waiting a waste? 

When Waiting is a Waste

As a road warrior, I spend lots of time sitting in airports, my 2 computers plugged into the wall, on the phone, with 3 leadership books at the ready. As I look around there are always people taking a different approach half asleep, watching movies on their phones, playing computer games, or just staring ahead with a glazed look. I always wonder about what else they could be doing to advance their cause.

The Waiting Place for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
~Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go

Waisted waiting doesn’t just happen in airports.

Sure life gives us waiting. We have the little “waits” and the big ones. Sometimes we get stuck and have to pause, or postpone our goals to support others in our life. Life works that way.

You may be waiting for…

  • your husband to come home
  • kids to start school
  • kids to finish school
  • lab results
  • a move
  • your wife’s job change
  • the debt to be paid down
  • ?

 Is your waiting an excuse to stop or not start?

Can You Wait Better?

How can you be more productive in the downtime? What can you do while your real (or figurative) baby takes a nap?

  • Get clear on what you really want.
  • Use your down-time to clarify your goals
  • Make a list of task to do during little “wait?”
  • Read a book
  • Hone your skills
  • Stop wasting time
  • Learn something new
  • Volunteer
  • Practice reflection

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today?


  1. Eric Dingler (@EricDingler)

    My new favorite post of yours. I’ve printed this off and added it the box of articles I’ll use this summer in our staff newspaper. AWESOME!!!

    Love the idea of absorbing or processing information during down time. Reading books, listening to podcast, watching TED talks, etc.

    But, my favorite thing to do during down time. Have conversations. I’ll text people I have talked to in a while. When I use to travel, I’d call my wife, my parents, or team members. Or, I’d strike up a conversation with strangers. It’s amazing what you can learn.

    Finally, for me I’ll also spend time in prayer during these times.

    Thanks for a great post and for a great resource to inspire my summer staff. This post will be going into the brains and lives of 30 some college students.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Eric, thanks so much as always. You add some great specific examples.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Eric, I really like the specifics you share here. As always, thanks for enhancing the conversation

  2. Anne

    This post frightens me a bit. There is benefit in taking time just to be without an endless march towards self-improvement!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Anne. Totally agree. There is a difference between waiting, watching and wasting. So glad to have you add your important perspective.

  3. skipprichard1

    What an important post. I’m passionate about using downtime wisely, and always have a few books ready. Of course, there are times when tuning it all out and wisely thinking or meditating is the best idea (though that is not my strength, so I’m learning).

    • letsgrowleaders

      Skip, fantastic to have you enhance the conversation. Ahh yes, I’m working on the tuning it out thing too. Yoga works for me, but meditating is more difficult.


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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict, and hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

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