Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we’re waiting for. N ow, before you succumb to the overwhelming desire to drop what you’re doing and retweet Mr. Stanley’s quote above – allow me to elaborate.
As I thought about the topic of growth, I discovered a hidden pattern I had never noticed before. The seasons of my life that I’m most proud of, whether it was a time of personal growth, career achievement, or even spiritual maturity – were always proceeded by a season of waiting. As I began asking my friends and family about this, I realized this was a regular occurrence for many of us – if not for everyone.
It seems like all those Star Wars movies were right. More often than not, if we want to be Luke Skywalker, destroyer of Death Stars and wearer of medals, we have to be willing to be Luke Skywalker, sand farmer. Before he’s everyone’s favorite Jedi, he has to be nobody’s favorite anything. Even in The Force Awakens, Rey spends 99 percent of her life waiting. The same applies to us… except for all the space monsters and lightsabers.
If we want to grow as creative professionals (or really anything for that matter), we should really anticipate waiting. It seems the road to real growth and maturity often ventures into the land of waiting.
That is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from working here in Hollywood for the past few years.
Whether you’re waiting on that big break – or any break at all – be patient. Understand that your creative journey will last for the rest of your life. Don’t get discouraged or impatient if it takes you an extra week, month, or year to achieve something the right away. Always play for the long game. It really is a war of attrition.
If you want to survive this war the right way, you have to be willing to do what’s necessary. For some of us, that means finding contentment where we are; even when “where we are” isn’t exactly “where we want to be.” For some of us that might include working a non-industry job for an undetermined amount of time until this writing, acting, or whatever thing opens up.
Personally, I had several seasons of waiting before my first real opportunity. The first was right after grad school. I graduated from film school in April 2013. Now, every good film school fluffs up each student with enough encouragement and positive feedback to sweep them right off their feet – which happens.
I remember thinking, “Okay, I’m done with school. I’ll move back home (to Alabama) for two weeks, then move to California.”
That was in April. I didn’t move to California until September, a full six months after graduating. Needless to say I was discouraged. On top of this discouragement, I had that sinking feeling of ending up right where I started without making any real progress. On top of this sickening dread, I spent most of that summer working at my parent’s car wash – scrubbing bug guts off car bumpers in the middle of the Alabama summer.
Remember, when detailing someone’s car in 100-plus degree heat, move quickly in order not to drip sweat on the nice clean interior. Try to resist the urge to take that Master’s Degree out of your back pocket and wipe your brow with it – despite the fact that’s about how useful it seems at the time.
That was my first professional season of waiting. As I mentioned, I did eventually relocate to California.
Was that summer at home discouraging? Absolutely. It was tough. That season of waiting was filled with discouragement, dread, and all around lousy feelings. But it was also filled with grace, purpose, and so many instances of providence. Over that summer I was able to save money, sell my car for a newer one, spend valuable time with friends and family, and so many other experiences I didn’t know I needed.
Looking back I am so thankful for that time. Sure, six months seems like a long time as you’re going through it; but from here — nearly three years in L.A. later — it was just a blip on the radar.
Whether you’re drudging through a season of waiting now, or trying to fight off the dread of not even knowing what you’re waiting for – please be patient. Find the purpose of your current situation. The season will pass anyway – it’s up to us to be ready when the day comes. And if you do it the right way, it will. Logan Huggins is a Coordinator at Relativity Television and a member of The Greenhouse Leadership Team. He is also the creator and producer of The Greenhouse Web Series.