Dr. Kim - Rise Up and Lead!

Stopping At the Railroad Crossing

So I was sitting at the above railroad crossing when I was traveling out of state in January. I was suddenly stopped, this train is whizzing by, I was in a hurry to get to my location, I was tired and hungry, and I was stopped right in my tracks. No one asked my permission! There was nowhere to go because there were cars behind me and this long still going train is in front of me… and all I could do was WAIT.

At first, I started to get impatient. I had not sat that still in a LONG time. I felt all kinds emotions rising up inside of me as I wondered, “let me see if I can see the back of the train!” I never did because it kept going and going. After about 5 minutes, I then found myself feeling defeated before releasing control over the situation; I was then able to let my thoughts wander. I cleaned out my purse, started playing a game on my phone, and worked on some writing. I felt so productive! All at once I heard the train track sounds cease, and I was snatched back into my right mind. I was able to give my full attention again; to WHAT? Driving and getting to my destination.

A few thoughts:

1. PAUSE

Think a moment about a goal that you may have set for yourself. What is it that has derailed you and paused you from moving forward towards your goal? Your goal is a journey or sorts so each step is forward motion. You’ve got your action plans, and then the railroad crossing gateway comes down right in front of you. Now here comes something that you cannot control and it hijacks your progress. What do you do?

How do you wait and what you do when you are paused could be a test of your character. I was going to try to turn around and honk my horn like a crazy person. That would not have served me well. I would have been frustrated and I would have caused frustration. It would’ve caused a scene with the other cars behind me ’cause they would’ve had to have moved. I didn’t know where I was and I would have gotten lost.

So I just decided to wait. Now, I don’t know if it’s always the best thing to wait versus to reroute, but what I wanna bring attention to is what I was doing while I was waiting. At first I was angry, but then I just said, well, I can’t control this, so let me find something else productive to do.

A few weeks after this, I read this quote from Brene Brown’s book Atlas of the Heart: “While most of us think of boredom as a negative feeling, it turns out that not all experiences of boredom are bad. . . A recent study showed that simple, boring tasks or mundane activities can allow our minds to wander, daydream, and create. The lack of stimulation that defines “being bored” gives our imagination room to play and grow.” Ah ha! It all makes sense now.

3. APPLICATION

What can you do while you’re waiting for something uncontrollable to get out of your way? Make the best use of that time and become as creative and imaginative as possible. What does this have to do with leadership? Everything! Don’t we want creativity in our work environment? Encouraging your folks to get creative in the space of intentional unstructured time can lead to some cool ideas. When there’s downtime, it’s like a blank canvas for innovation. So, when you find yourself PAUSED or BORED, instead of numbing out, scrolling forever on social media, or let your imagination run wild. Who knows? You might stumble upon some genius solution that nobody saw coming!

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