The Right Note at the Wrong Time - jennwhitmer.com

Jul 26, 2019

The Right Note at the Wrong Time

In music and in conflict…

Drilled into my head as a young musician in orchestras and choirs—the right note at the wrong time is the wrong note.

1-and 2-and 3-ee-and-ah 4

Usually with foot stomping and clapping. Definitely with arm waving.

Ensemble playing is a team sport, and the precision of timing makes the difference between a beautiful chord and an offkey clash. 


Life is also a team sport. Timing makes the difference between growing together and healing or hurt, pain, and broken relationships.

In interpersonal communication, we must discern the right timing to approach a conversation—especially a conflict.

Rushing in:

A conflict can be absolutely necessary to work through, and yet, working through that conflict when everyone involved is overtired—or blocking the entrance to Target—is likely to be the wrong time. A better plan is to acknowledge the timing is poor and schedule a time to revisit the conversation.

Lagging behind:

Waiting too long to address a conflict complicates the hurt, causes unnecessary harm, and possibly a relationship lost. Bringing up an issue when it’s still relevant and solvable takes discernment—and courage.

Trouble deciding? Ask for help. That foot-stomping and arm-waving from conductors kept us all together. Sometimes we need a bit of coaching from the outside to keep in time.

At the right time, music happens.

At the right time, #conflictisopportunity.

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