April 6, 2021 Cory Carlson

Are you in the ‘waiting room’?

This blog originally appeared in the Faith Driven Entrepreneur website.

One of the hardest things many of us experience is waiting for what is next.  For what’s to come.

When will I get the promotion?  When will I get the job?  When will I get the new clients?  When will this business start to take off?  Why is it taking so long?  

Our wait can turn into anxiety, which then can turn into frustration, which can often turn into a slothfulness.  

Almost the thought of, ‘Fine, if it isn’t going to happen, then I will just sit here.’

A little over 5 years ago I was frustrated, lost and confused.  I was on the executive team of a company that had just gone through a failed attempt at trying to sell the company.  Looking back, the experience itself was incredible and I am better for it today, however, at the time, I was frustrated.   

We spent a significant amount of time preparing the presentation ‘deck’ and then an entire month presenting and interviewing various private equity companies that were interested in buying us.   

After presenting to the private equity companies, we received numerous offers, and after reviewing the offers and purchase requirements, we selected the one we wanted to work with.

However, during the 45 day due diligence process, the potential buyer got cold feet and backed out. They no longer felt comfortable with parts of our business. Once that happens you are pretty much toast because the second highest offer is now concerned for what the other buyer may have found – so they either lower their offer significantly or pull out.

So after all this hard work and nobody wanting to buy us, we were back at the starting blocks.

I was frustrated. Lost. Discouraged. I thought this was my exit. I thought this is why God had me take this job to help build it up towards a sale and then off to bigger and better things.

Many months later, I was driving a rental car from Miami, FL to Tampa, FL.  I had been in Miami making sales calls with the local sales engineer and now en route to Tampa for a company leadership meeting.

During the drive, I got to that point of frustration that we all can get to from time to time, where I was crying out to God for answers. Literally praying out loud.  Even yelling to God.  I thought this was going to be MY TIME. My exit. My cash out.  Why did you even bring me to this Florida company?”  You name it, I was probably saying it.  Not my finest moment, but an honest moment.

Then I started just rattling all kinds of thoughts out loud.  Do I update my resume and get out of the company?  Do I stay?  Do I stick around for another company sale?  Do I call some of our industry partners to see if they are hiring? Do I call my old company and go work there?

I had lots of thoughts running through my head, both good and bad.

Then out of nowhere, I heard this audible, or felt audible to me, yet very clear, ‘Stay’.   

God is that you?  Stay?  What does that mean?  For how long?  Why? When can I go?  

Now I had more questions than answers.  However, I know there was a peace coming over me.

I felt the obedient thing would be to ‘stay’.

Over the coming months, our company was directed to downsize as our private equity ownership wanted to preserve our EBITDA (company profit) opposed to a growth mindset as they decided what to do with this company.

During this time, I remember employees, and even my wife, asking me if I was going to update my resume and look for a new job. I told them ‘no’ and that I felt called to ‘stay’.

With the direction of ‘stay’, I no longer sat around discouraged, I felt God had a plan so I got to work.  Now, I would be lying saying I never wondered when the next word I got was going to be, but I kept moving along until I heard differently.  

I am sure this is how Paul felt in Acts [18:11] when he ended up staying in Corinth for a year and six months!  Leading up to that moment, Paul’s typical pace was a few days, or a few weeks at the longest, in a particular location teaching the Good News of Jesus and then off to the next one.

Paul had to be anxious at times during these eighteen months wondering ‘God, if we are to spread this news, then I need to get to the next town.  Haven’t these people heard enough?’.  

However he stayed and was obedient as he waited for God’s next signal.

At the time of my ‘stay’ story, my executive coach, Brandon, explained the scenario, which I now use with my clients, as ‘the waiting room’. He asked, ‘while you are in the waiting room, waiting for your name to be called, what are you going to do to prepare yourself?”   

You can waste time reading the news or scrolling your phone.  Or you can choose to be intentional with the time and better yourself such as reading something of significance like a devotion, listening to a podcast, journaling, etc.  Using this time to sharpen the saw.

So as I was in the ‘waiting room’, I continued to invest in the sales people that reported to me. I also invested in myself and explored the idea of starting a coaching business.  I networked with an open handed mindset, opposed to desperation and scarcity of needing a job.  This mindset allowed me to have tons of fruitful conversations.

This continued until that August when I was terminated from that job.  You don’t need a President of Sales if you have dwindled down the sales team!

I was given a four month severance package and chose to use that time and money to hustle and build the coaching business that I operate today.

I believe God had a plan for me to ‘stay’ until terminated, so I would launch the coaching business.  He used that time to prepare my mind and heart for the change.  To break my identity away from my job title and image of a corporate executive.

Plus, odds are very, very low that I ever would have ever left my highest salary job, to start a coaching business from scratch with a family of five and me as the sole provider.  

Are you in a waiting room right now?  How can you be intentional with this time until you get your next assignment?

If we are not careful, we can turn the waiting room time into wasting time.  However, I believe God uses all seasons to better us, and the waiting room season is one where he is doing work in us, in order to prepare us, for what is on the other side of this season.

ACTION STEP:

How can you be intentional with this time in the waiting room?  

How can you invest in those around you more?  

What can you do to invest in yourself?

PRAYER:

Lord, waiting rooms are frustrating, yet I know you use them for our good. I repent that my frustration even can turn to slothfulness. I will be diligent in my days to invest in myself and those around you, so I grow closer to you and am better prepared for what you are working on.  Amen.

Cory Carlson

Cory Carlson is passionate about connecting people to greater performance and more significant purpose. Cory's competency of extensive sales/marketing and team development mixed with character of helping people have greater impact allows him to transform businesses and their leadership. As the leader goes, so does the company...and home. Cory's professional experience includes being President of Sales for national contractor, interactions with private equity ownership, boardroom meetings, to sales call with sales personnel. Coaching experience ranges from one-on-ones with CEOs/Executives to team workshops/retreats. If looking for holistic growth, let's connect!