The Tao Te Ching says:
Tao leaders live close to nature.
Their actions flow from the heart.
In words, they are true;
In decisions, just;
In business, effective;
In action, aware of the timing.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 8
Sometimes being aware of the timing means being mindful of others. When a friend is feeling stressed, overwhelmed by too much to do, right timing means being understanding and compassionate, giving your friend space.
Sometimes right timing means following your intuition. Years ago when I was a nineteen year-old college sophomore, driving home from a summer temp job, I passed by the local newspaper office, the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Suddenly the through struck me—"I'm a writer. That's where I should be working."
Without hesitation, I turned my red Volkswagon into the Press-Enterprise parking lot, and walked in the door. "Hi. I'm a writer," I said, "I'd like to apply for a job." Ushered upstairs to the personnel department, I filled out the paperwork and learned that their college intern had given her notice that morning. I was hired on the spot.
Timing. In an instant, some doors can open, leading to new possibilities. When our "actions flow from the heart," we can be intuitively led to right action and right timing.
How have you used the lesson of timing in your life?
An earlier version of this lesson appeared in Dreher, D. (1996). The Tao of Personal Leadership. New York, NY: HarperCollins.