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A friend on Facebook recently posted, “Good things come to those who wait and even better things come to those who hustle while they wait.”

During my nearly five years in business, I’ve often felt like I’ve been doing a lot of both hustling and waiting. I’ve recently seen those good and better things come my way in the form of a couple sizable client projects.

This is by no means the end of my hustling and waiting, but it got me thinking their characteristics.

When I hear this word, I picture a basketball player diving on the floor for a loose ball. The player does this without regard for ego or even personal well-being. Hustling in our professional lives requires us to give up our ego and do the things others aren’t willing to do, such as:

  • Plant seeds – Planting seeds isn’t about sales pitches or dropping hints about the next big opportunity you’re searching for. It is about recklessly and generously giving value to the world, e.g., stopping by to say hello to a past client, sharing an article of interest with an associate, or giving a word of encouragement to someone having a hard time.
  • Show up in the world – A phrase I use a lot with clients is, “When you show up, good things happen.” What does showing up in the world look like for you? For me it’s speaking, going to networking events, writing and conferences. This concept has been proven to me time and time again. Every time I show up in the world, good things happen!
  • Follow-up – Follow-up is everything. Good follow-up raises you above 95% of your peers, and ensures you won’t get lost in anyone’s mental archives. There are lots of tools out there to support this (I’m currently looking at 22 Touch (www.22touch.com) to help me with follow-up).

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers famously sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Here are some strategies to make it easier:

  • Practice patience – You’ve planted the seeds, by giving value to the world and following up. Now trust the work you’ve done. You control the seed, but not the harvest. Trust the law of the harvest and that you’ll reap what you sow.
  • Fight the fear – Fear is a terrible enemy while waiting. It is critical to remain grounded in what is really important. For me, my faith is the grounding force that kept me and still keeps me from spiraling into fear.
  • Stay connected – One of my key strategies in practicing patience and fighting the fear is to surround myself with support people who keep me out of my own head and sometimes kick me in the pants to get back into the right frame of mind.
  • Stay sharp – Seasons of waiting are a perfect time to hone your knowledge and skills in your area of work. Read a book or magazine, or talk with an expert. This season of waiting will end and you want to be fully prepared.

Do you hustle then wait or wait after hustling? The truth is you are in a constant flow between the two. Whatever state you find yourself at any given moment, be completely present and enjoy it for all it’s worth. Tomorrow’s not promised to any of us so whether you’re waiting or hustling, make it count!

For more leadership insights and business building tips, sign-up to receive my emails and receive a free e-copy of my new book, Become a Better Leader 10 Minutes at a Time, to be released on July 1.

Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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