I tell people that knowledge is knowing what to do and wisdom is knowing when to do it. Timing is everything. It affects whether something is a success or a failure. It provides acceleration or it slows you down. We often struggle with patience to wait for the right time. John Maxwell wrote these important things about timing:
- The wrong action at the wrong time leads to disaster.
- The right action at the wrong time brings resistance.
- The wrong action at the right time is a mistake.
- The right action at the right time results in success.
There are many things that affect timing, some of which are out of our control. There are a few things that once we are aware of them, can at least make our timing better. When the right time is matched with the right action there will be success. Here are three things that affect timing.
There are things that are your natural strengths. Things that you have been gifted to do or that you have honed over a period of time to develop some proficiency. You will usually have better timing in your area of strength. For example, I am a public speaker. I do it multiple times per week. It is one of my few strengths. In those moments, I usually have pretty good timing on what subject to talk about or how to deliver a particular line in a speech. It might be an important point I want people to remember or the delivery of something humorous. Irregardless of the content or intent, timing is critical when I speak. It is much easier to get timing right in places where I have a strength. You will find that timing is much easier in your areas of strength rather than your areas of weakness.
One of the places where we most often get timing wrong is in an area of need. It may not necessarily be an area where we are normally weak, but need creates problems with timing. If we are hungry when we go grocery shopping we will buy things we don’t need. If we are lonely, we will often get into unhealthy relationships. Need will cause us to overlook important things that affect timing. When we need something we will overlook significant consequences to satisfy an immediate desire.
We may have natural inclinations in our areas of strength and feel confident in our timing, but there are areas of weakness for all of us. There are also areas where we have limited information. The counsel or advice that we seek will play a significant role in our timing. First, we should seek advice from people who are strong where we need help. Before seeking someone out for advice, make sure they have some success in the area. Second, we should be careful not to seek people just because we think they will confirm our position. The advice you receive will often dictate the accuracy of your timing.
Remember, it is not enough just to make the right decision or take the right action. It is important that you do those things at the right time. Timing is everything.