In publishing, like in life, timing is a critical factor in any success. Attempting the right task at the wrong time seldom produces optimum results. And what’s more, it wears you out.
On the one hand, trying to accomplish a project ahead of its time takes extra energy–energy that’s wasted. Better to wait a bit. Throttle back until the time is right for the project to unfold naturally. If you’re afraid of missing the boat, remember the Titanic.
On the other hand, lagging behind through indecision and procrastination creates frustration and a frantic need to catch up. There are right moments for bold daring action. Seize them and go for it. It’s just too hard to work against the unfolding rhythm. And it’s a lot easier and more effective to flow with it.
The ancient Greeks used the word kairos to describe the “right time”–the perfect time for an event to unfold naturally. You have probably experienced some of these magic kairos moments when you felt in harmony with your natural rhythm, were in tune with the needs of the moment, and responded smoothly and effectively to the challenge before you. These are the moments that breed passion and produce results.
In your life, or in your work, are you in touch these days with your sense of proper timing? Is this insight guiding you as you invest yourself each day? Or are you out of synch–ahead of yourself, or lagging badly behind?
Without doubt, now is the “right time” for you. That’s simple. The tough question is… what is now the right time for you to be doing or being? That’s not so easy.
In my past life as a stress management consultant, I developed five questions to help people identify their natural rhythms at any particular time in their lives. You can apply these questions to your publishing business or to your personal life (assuming there’s a difference!).
Either way, answer each question with the first image that pops into your head. Then notice the messages you’ve given to yourself.
Here they are. Answer each quickly. One-word answers are best.
- Maybe I don’t need to be/do ________ anymore. (Something it’s time to give up)
- Maybe I still need to be/do ________ some more. (Something you need to hang on to)
- Maybe I need to be/do ________ sometime soon. (A future direction or goal)
- Maybe I need to be/do ________ once again. (A past resource/strength to revive)
- Maybe I need to be/do ________ sometimes. (Something inconsistent or tentative)
Look at your answers. What do your images tell you about your kairos at the moment?
What is now the right time for you to be doing or being?
Act on Internal Wisdom
Whenever you notice that you’re feeling exhausted and frustrated, and also sense that you are running in circles being less effective than you would like, ask yourself these five questions. They’re simple enough that you can remember them and hold the answers in your head.
Listen to what your internal wisdom tells you about your sense of timing. Then, once you’re back in synch with yourself, you can trust the process and move ahead responding to the needs of the moment with confidence.