Wait and see

"Don't just stand there; do something!"

It's interesting: often the opposite of this is true. 

Usually, the best reaction isn't to "do something." Instead, it's better to "wait."

  • Did your competitor launch a new feature? Wait and see how it works out. 
  • Did you have a new idea in the shower? Wait and see if you're still excited about it in a week. 
  • Get a suggestion from a customer? Wait and see how important it really is. 

Our natural inclination is to respond immediately. We equate "being decisive" with "making decisions quickly."

But I've found, especially as I've worked with Jon on Transistor, that it's better to wait and see how things develop.

This is especially true if we're stuck on a feature idea. In the beginning, we're still figuring things out. Moving forward is hard. But after we've had time to sit with an idea, and wrestle with it, items become clearer. It's easier to make a plan.

I had a hard time articulating this until I saw this Ryan Singer tweet:

He compares problem solving to climbing a hill. 

In the beginning, nothing's clear. You don't know what you need to know to proceed. This is the uphill stage.

Then, you reach a moment, at the top of the hill, where things suddenly become clear. You can see the right path forward. This is where you decide which way you're heading.

After that, the downhill stage is almost effortless. You have a good idea of the tasks you need to accomplish. In software development, you'd have your user stories written at this point. You know what you need to execute on.

Often, I see people trying to act too early. They don't realize it, but they're in the uphill stage. I make most of my mistakes when I try to make decisions in this phase.

Give yourself time to figure things out! Maybe you need to do more research and exploration. Perhaps you need to talk to a few more people. Or, you might need to take it easy, and think about something else for a while. Let your brain process the problem in the background!

"I’ve found recently my largest power is 'I don’t know, let’s find out.'" – John Doherty

It's OK to wait and see.

Justin Jackson

Published on April 23rd, 2019
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