Tom O'Neil: Life's purest rewards can take a little time

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Welcome to my regular column entitled "My Light Bulb Moment". This series highlights a "blinding flash of insight" that business, cultural and sports leaders have had in their career, and how this changed their lives forever

Finlay MacDonald. Photo / NZ Herald
Finlay MacDonald. Photo / NZ Herald

Playing the long game

Sadly, patience has never been one of my virtues, and while I appreciate the importance of this asset in a business setting, I unfortunately find it too easy to try to push things through, rather than waiting for the most opportune time to execute and deliver.

Finlay Macdonald

Over the last three decades, Finlay Macdonald has worked as a celebrated New Zealand based journalist, editor, publisher and broadcaster. He's worked with the Listener, the Sunday Star-Times, Penguin (NZ) and Harper Collins.

David Lange's memoirs

Out of the blue a number of years ago, David Lange rang Finlay to say he was ready to pen his memoir. "I had been talking to him intermittently for quite a while, suggesting he do it, only to be good-naturedly rebuffed each time." However, when Lange changed his mind, Finlay suddenly realised that after years in the "instant gratification/disappointment world of media", the long game did sometimes work out.

"Since then I've got better at waiting, trusting fate a little, not climbing the walls every five minutes when the phone doesn't ring. When it does work out, it's all the more rewarding and satisfying."

Good things take time

I certainly know myself the frustration of trying to get to "Yes". Back in 2006 I developed a personal development tool I felt Richard Bolles, author of the world's best-selling career guide What Color Is Your Parachute, might like to use in his latest edition. I spent forever crafting an email I felt hit the right note of introduction, then sent it off.

Not hearing anything back, I emailed him again a month later with no answer once more as the response.

Not to be put off, I respectfully emailed him another seven times (all with no answer), before finally receiving a call a year later explaining he really liked my system and would be very happy to include it in his next publication.

A true cliché

As Finlay says, "it's a bit of a cliché, but stay the distance if you can. We live and work in a ridiculous environment of instant deadlines and expectations, but your mother (or grandmother) was right when she told you that sometimes good things take time."

If you have had a blinding moment of insight (a light bulb moment), please email me (or share your story in the comment field below) as I would love to hear about it.


Tom O'Neil is an award winning business speaker, international author of The 1 per cent Principle and Selling Yourself to Employers, and CEO of both AchievementExpert.com and CV.CO.NZ.

- NZ Herald

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