ahaWe’ve all had those moments in life of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension. And most of us aspire to having many more of them. We refer to those moments as “Aha Moments.” I seem to be having quite a few lately and continue to enjoy each one.  As enjoyable as it is to personally experience them ourself, it is even more exciting to observe someone else experience them for themselves.  In fact, there are few things as rewarding to a parent, coach, or leader than to see that light-bulb go off for their child, teammate, or protégé.  And yes, sometimes it is a little frustrating when things don’t seem to click as quickly as we might like (whether it be for ourselves or others).

Tactics for creating “Aha Moments” include providing the answer and directing a specific action, but the one I am most fond of is creating conditions for others to experience the moment on their own. I’ve never been quick to tell others exactly what or how to think, nor am I big on telling others exactly what or how to do something (though I most certainly offer my way for consideration).  In my current position at work, I am often a fly on the wall in a room of seniors; I visibly lurk in the shadows and behind the scenes and often provide others with greater context of situations so that they can better execute their responsibilities (a consultant of sorts). I have the privilege of watching a great leader lead, a responsibility to observe how the team reacts, and a desire to optimize the speed at which teammates experience their own “Aha Moments.”  Some individuals on the team are quick to synchronize with the leader and understand that there is a need to change the way we (or they) do business.  Some are so comfortable in the status quo, that they don’t have a clue for how misaligned their thinking is, as they continue to misfire.

As we drive change, we continue to take a measured pace because that is what sticks. Change can be directed, specific answers can be given, and the reassignment of people who don’t seem to understand can occur. But, that doesn’t strengthen a team; that doesn’t cultivate meaningful dialogue; and that most certainly is not sustainable.

Yes, “Aha Moments” are necessary and yes, they are best when they are self-realized.  But sometimes those of us watching the slow evolution of a change, see another’s “Aha Moment” as an “About Time Moment.” The pace at which we turn our ship to our intended course matters.  Too quickly and all items not properly secured fall to the deck. Too slowly and opposing currents play a larger role in slowing our course change.

I’ll take an “About Time Moment” any day.  Yes, it would be great to see things click sooner if possible, but those of us truly interested in parenting, coaching, and leading know that seeing that lightbulb go off is what is most important.  “Aha Moments” are vital to our development, even when they turn into “About Time Moments.” The key is to have the patience to allow an “About Time Moment” to occur in favor of attempting to forcefully change the individual. As many “Aha Moments” as I have enjoyed in my life, I have no doubt that many of them were “About Time Moments” in the minds of my parents, coaches, and leaders. For that, I thank them for having the patience to allow me to realize them on my own and at my own pace.

  • When was your last “Aha Moment?”
  • When was the last time you created the conditions for another to enjoy their “Aha Moment?”
  • Are you OK with “About Time Moments?”