Time = No Control (aka Patience)

Scripture of the Week – Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” 

This week we’re addressing the topic of time – this builds on topics from the past two weeks on Grace and Truth. When speaking truth with grace, it usually takes time to produce the positive fruit. In other words, speaking grace and truth usually requires us to completely give up control over the outcomes – something very difficult for our TCTC community. We must faithfully entrust the process to time that could take days, weeks, months or years – we must accept that when speaking grace and truth, we may never see the fruit of this effort – it is something made beautiful in the timing only of God.  

What is time and how does it play a role in virtually everything? Let’s consider an analogy – yeast. As the essential ingredient to good bread, yeast is requisite to helping the bread rise and produce a wonderfully tasty piece of bread – even as it is not one of those ingredients which add significant calories (flour) or taste (spices). Time is an essential ingredient to business and relationships which leads to slow, mysterious exponential returns over time.  

An example of this is compound interest. Albert Einstein said, “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.” In other words, time is the secret ingredient without calories and taste to the monetary interest which can be an incredibly powerful force for good or bad – depending on what side of it you find yourself. 

When have you experienced the good or bad in time in your life and business? This of course takes significant life experience to appreciate because it is not without significant waiting and investment does one see the output of their effort. 

An example of this which comes to mind is parenting. Josh, The Consultant, has been a parent for nine years and only now looking back does he see how it has shaped him – during the shaping process it was indiscernible. In terms of the children, while it’s both a difficult and rewarding challenge, it seems unfair one never knows until it is far too late how well they are doing as parents. There are very few indicators along the way to tell you if you are on track or not. For Josh’s three young kids, he finds himself wondering what they will be like in their 20’s and 30’s – will they be well adjusted, happy, settled adults who are rooted in their faith and have generally healthy relationships with each other, their family, and their community? How dysfunctional will they be and will it only be after it’s too late that Josh will fully understand his errors as a parent? Will he be able to confess, seek forgiveness and have strong relationships with his adult children? These questions can haunt us as parents. 

Business is much the same for many of us. We are locked inside this mysterious thing called time hoping to invest steadily into the right places and relationships around us such that we can achieve our goals or express our values each and every day. The challenge of course is figuring out when we’re waiting for the bread to rise or should throw out the dough and start over!! 

What should we do when we find ourselves uncertain of what to do? There are of course many stories from The Coach and The Consultant about trying to make this call. It takes courage, strength and wisdom. Consider three questions:

  1. As we have discussed many times, it requires us to start with understanding our values and whether or not we are living them out in the current situation? 
  2. Next is to understand our vision for ourselves and our companies – are we headed in the right direction and will the current combination of resources help us get there effectively? 
  3. Finally, are we setting disciplined habits to steadily pursue this vision little-by-little each day and surrounding ourselves with a community to hold us accountable? 

If your answer to all of these questions is ‘Yes’ then you are likely set up for long-term success and may just have to weather the current challenges or issues, letting things take their course and have grace for yourself as you make the best decisions you can at the moment. 

If any answer is ‘No’, you are not set up to succeed and may need to re-think your current ingredients – just waiting longer will likely not result in the bread of life and business rising as you hope.

Let’s conclude with a prayer we referenced in the podcast – the following was written by Howard Thurman, an African American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader:

“I need thy sense of time. Always I have an underlying anxiety about things. Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends and am completely without patience. It is hard for me to realize that some growth is slow, that all processes are not swift. I cannot always discriminate between what takes time to develop and what can be rushed. Because my sense of time is dulled, I measure things in terms of happenings. O to understand the meaning of perspective that I may do all things with a profound sense of leisure – of time. I need thy sense of Time. Amen”

What are some ways The Consultant and The Coach help their clients with time? 

The Consultant

  • Work with the CEO and executive team to review and update the mission, vision, values and strategy of the organization to ensure it reflects the direction everyone believes the organization should be moving
  • Develop a change management plan and aligned goals throughout the organization so that every person in the organization understands how their daily work aligns with and connects to the mission, vision, values and strategy
  • Help the executive review its structure for accountability and transparency to build greater trust with the organization and how everyone works together in a singular way. 

The Coach

  • Build a plan with each executive which includes assessment of their value, life plan and whether or not their current role is well aligned
  • Work with executives to help them find life teams and other accountability through community in their relationships to help them live out their values more consistently and show up in their leadership role in more highly functional ways. 

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