Are You Living Between “When” and “Then”?

This past week I was speaking with a client who was feeling….Let’s say ‘disgruntled’ with her situation at work.

As we talked through how she might proceed she said,

“Look, when my boss gives me a raise then I will go back to giving it my all.”


I don’t believe in living between when and then.


When we do, the person being shortchanged is us.

How is this possible?

Because we are the ones living full time with the knowledge that we aren’t speaking up for ourselves/working to our potential.

Yes, we are wasting the time of those around us but—more importantly—we are wasting our own time.

How else have I seen living between when and then manifest?

  • “When my colleagues stop talking over me then I will go back to contributing.”
  • “When my pitch is perfect then I will talk to potential investors.”

Or, closer to home,

  • “When my spouse/partner/in-law cares enough to ask me why I’m angry then I will tell them.”

You hear it? Time’s a-wastin’…

Now, I am not saying that living between when and then is always negative.

What are a few positive examples?

  • “When I have a better sense of the scope of the problem then I will offer my opinion.”
  • “When I’ve saved a six-month financial cushion then I will go out on my own.”
  • “When my kid’s in school/my aging parent is settled then I will interview for my dream job.”

What’s the difference?

In my experience, a negative between when and then has a sense of procrastination…and an accompanying loss of self esteem…that makes the time between the two a joy killer.


For more on the many different types of procrastination, take a look at “Procrastination: A Love Story”