How often do you put yourself in a “wait and see” frame of mind because you think that “it’ll be really telling” if someone at work ends up doing or not doing something? As in:


¨It’ll be really telling what my boss gives me for a raise this year,” or


It’ll be really telling if my coworker continues to be a moody stress case, even after he finishes this project,” or


It’ll be really telling if the management team does anything with that process improvement I proposed last month.”


Yes, those things might potentially be telling, but I see three problems with this type of wait and see / it’ll be really telling thinking.


Strive for power, action, and immediacy


Problem #1: You’re giving away your power by having your thoughts and actions depend on what someone else does or tells you.


Problem #2: While the questions you raise with this type of thinking can provide information, they don’t tend to drive you to action.


Problem #3: You’re delaying living how you want to live if you’re telling yourself that you can’t do anything about this right now; not until you see what Jack or Jill ends up doing.


2 Questions to focus your ‘wait and see’ thinking


Sometimes we think that information is the cure for what frustrates us. And while information may be exactly what we need in some situations, many times we haven’t even thought through what the value of that information really is.


In fact, you could be asking yourself useful questions that help you get out of our holding pattern. You may not even have to wait and see to get the telling information you’re hoping for.


Ask yourself these two questions and see where they lead you:


If I had the “telling” information I’m waiting on:

  1. What exactly would it tell me?
  2. What would I do?


Make sure your questions yield valuable information

Below are a couple of scenarios showing how to apply the two questions and where they might lead.


Scenario: End-of-year raise

Consider the scenario where you’re waiting to see what how big a raise your boss gives you this year. Ask yourself:


Question 1: If you knew how big of a raise you’re getting, what exactly will that tell you?


Where Q1 could lead: Are you trying to figure out how much your boss values you? How much the company values you? Is it possible you already know how much you’re valued? If not, what are some other things you could do to find out how much you’re valued?


Question 2: If you knew how big of a raise you’re getting, what would you do?


Where Q2 could lead: Will you look for other work if the raise is too small? What other factors are important to you in deciding to look for other work?


Scenario: Moody coworker

Consider the scenario where you’re waiting until the end of the project to see if he’s no longer acting like a stress case.


Question 1: What exactly will it tell you if he becomes less moody after the project ends? Or what will it tell you if he doesn’t?


Where Q1 could lead: More importantly, though, what does his reaction have to do with you?


Question 2: What would you do differently if you knew that he’s moody because he’s stressed out by this project?


Where Q2 could lead: Would you look for ways to help him with the project, or with his stress? Would you take things less personally?


There’s value in what you know right now—don’t wait


The point is that these questions that you could ask yourself right now are much more compelling than waiting and seeing what someone else does or doesn’t do at a later date. They’re compelling because they lead to you understanding what’s truly important to you and they lead to action.


Maybe you could be doing something differently, but maybe your questions convince you that you’re doing exactly what you ought and want to be doing right now. And, if so, you can relax or think about something else that’s important to you.


Even more importantly, by being aware of your ‘wait and see’ thinking, you can retain your power over the things you can control, rather than giving it away to others by saying, “I’ll wait and see what they do.”



Guillermo Villar is principal coach with Cambio Coaching. He helps high achieving professionals communicate more effectively and experience more fulfillment at work.