Man’s Favorite (And Most Destructive) Waiting Game

I’ll never forget the phone call I thought was going to make me famous.

“Is this Bryan Ward?”

I was in high school. No adult ever called for me.

“Yes,” I said, my heart beating a little faster.

“Well, we’ve heard your guitar playing, Bryan, and I’m telling you, you’re good. VERY good. We’d like you to sign with our label. We’d like to offer you a record deal.”

My mind went to a place of instant, solemn acceptance.

Finally, my time had come. My great gift had been discovered. My life was about to change forever.

And then, abruptly: “Ha ha! Just kidding, it’s Mark, a friend of your dad’s. Hey is your dad around? I need to talk to him.”

I laughed feebly and went to find my dad, my dreams of rock-stardom raised, stoked, and dashed to pieces, all in the span of twenty seconds.

You may chuckle at the teenage naïveté.

You may think you’ve long since shed such fantasies.

After all, you know better. You know the star-makers and dream-granters don’t just show up unannounced, knock on your door, and hand you the keys to the kingdom.

And yet… you, too, are waiting for that phone call:

You wait for your boss to recognize your contribution and reward you with that VP position that just opened up.

You wait for the ad agency you hired to unlock the flood gates of leads and sales you’ve been slavering for.

You wait for that new music discovery engine to sell your record and build your fanbase.

You wait for the certifying body to tell you you’ve passed their test, to give you the piece of paper that says now, finally… you’re ready.

In other words, you’re still waiting for outside anointing.

You still think you need someone else’s blessing, certification, system, rolodex, distribution channel, permission, or approval to do your thing.

And the cost is fucking enormous.

For here you sit, idling your engines, waiting for the the flagman to let you loose… operating at a fraction of your potential, raging at the wasted days, weeks, years… desperate to GET CRANKING…

But still, despite your hunger, something holds you back.

If only you had more confirmation. If only you had less ambivalent feedback… more rabid fans… a higher net promoter score…

THEN you’d know you were on the right track. THEN you’d be confident you weren’t betting the last of your capital, the rest of your hope, on a lost cause.

And thus your doom.

For outside anointing will never come. Not until your success is so obvious even a fool could see it.

No, the only one who can anoint you now, back towards the beginning… when all is confusion and desperation and darkness… the only one who can anoint you now, when you need it most… is you.

Like it or not, you’re all you’ve got.

No one else can see the peak you see. No one else can guess at your resolve to get there.

So stop waiting to be discovered.

Stop waiting for the king-maker’s anointing.

Stop waiting to be shown the path only your walking will blaze.

***

Bryan Ward is the founder of Third Way Man and author of the LIT Black Paper

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