Remember as a kid going on road trips with the family, super excited to reach your destination? Every half-hour you’d be asking “are we there yet” with your parents getting more and more agitated with each inquiry?
Have we really changed all that much?
In today’s fast-paced world, instant gratification is literally at our fingertips. If we want it, we can have it at our doorstep in less than two hours. We’ve bombarded with images and social media of people having it all, (#blessed), and waiting is now perceived as something negative.
What about our kids? What are we teaching them about what it means to delay gratification? When a child pitches a fit in the store because they want something they can’t have, do you give in because you don’t want to cause a scene, or do it ride it out and stick to your guns because no matter how epic that tantrum is, you’re determined to make a lesson out of it?
I’ve always heard that patience is a virtue, but is that really true? Is it a virtue or is it a skill? I feel like it’s the latter. Patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering, without getting angry or upset,” When I think of someone that’s trying to practice more patience, they are in an intentional act of trying to better themselves and their state of mind. We become impatient as a response to that delay in gratification when things don’t go according to our own expectations. Learning how to delay that gratification is a soft skill that takes discipline, awareness and a willingness to change.
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t get impatient? (Let he who be without sin cast the first stone, right?) Being patient is really easy to talk about, but it’s tough to put into action! Plus, society pushes us to take action now, rather than being decisive, and for leaders, that’s a ton of pressure! So what do we do? I think the trick is identifying those triggers that make our impatience meter rise and figuring out how to level ourselves out to find some peace and contentment.
As entrepreneurs and leaders, learning how to be more patient can pay off in really big ways.
Patience builds relationships
An impatient leader lacks empathy. Why? Because they’re so focused on achieving their goal at the moment, that they put their needs above their team’s needs. An impatient leader doesn’t take the time to build relationships with their peers and co-workers because they are too focused on getting a result right away.
Think about it. How many times do you feel like you want to give up when things aren’t going your way? Impatience is just fueling that mentality. You don’t care about riding it out anymore because the end just feels too far out of sight. Leaders who have patience know that they have to sacrifice short term glory if they want to have long-term results.
Patience builds smart-decision making
A patient leader knows how to keep things in context. They learn how to make sound decisions with short-term deliverables that will ultimately lead them to their goal. Being patience requires you to have more strategic thinking and planning, rather than jumping right in to try to get a result in the shortest amount of time.
Patience builds trust and productivity
Leaders who are patient know that by creating realistic expectations they can improve productivity and trust with their peers. They are patient to wait for them to learn what they need to in order to be successful and it helps to create an environment of respect and trust.
There are companies that don’t let new employees do anything for the first few weeks just to give them the opportunity to soak up the culture and inner workings of the organization so they won’t feel overwhelmed. They’re patient with them to learn the ropes before they expect them to perform. People respond to pressure in different ways. Some rise to the challenge while others retreat. A patient leader will take the time to learn their team dynamics so they know how to best serve them.
Patience builds compassion
Think about what you feel like when you start being impatient. It’s not pretty, right? It raises your blood pressure, makes you feel anxious and all-around irritated. You’re not seeing the results you want so you throw that negative energy out into the world. Then that negatively affects the people around you. They can sense your frustration. The more patience you can practice, the more resourceful, composed, and mindful you become as a leader. Being patient helps you take a step back and look at things from a different lens. It helps you enjoy the journey and the ability to really savor the reward once it actually happens.
Patience helps us recharge
The race you’re running isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so be like the tortoise, not the hare. Be smart, be strategic, and have the fortitude to realize that you can’t keep going at a breakneck pace without having to pit stop, recharge, and reassess. Being patient helps us pause, reflect, and make sure we’re running the right race at the right pace, and for the right reasons.
Patience helps us find our potential
Patience gives us grit. It helps us persevere when we think we can’t go on. When we’re patient, we give ourselves the choice on how to respond to a given scenario, rather than get taken by our emotions. A lack of success or progress can almost always be traced back to a lack of patience. I love the quote that “talent is actually long-earned patience.” Learning how to do something well or being the best doesn’t happen overnight. It takes constant refining and time. When we lack patience, we lack control. Getting control of our emotions means learning how to fight those negative feelings and turn them into fuel. Patience helps us discover what we’re actually made of, how far we’re willing to go to find success, what to sacrifice, and how long we can hold out.
Patience brings hope
I love the idea that having patience means having a conquering spirit. When you have patience you hold fast to the idea that you’ll eventually get to where you want to be. Patient people exude hope. They have a sense of optimism that’s infectious. They’re not so worried about today. They’re focused on tomorrow with an end goal that isn’t defined by the hours in a day, but by milestones and achievements they’re making in a life with the people that matter most to them.
Patience builds faith
“I believe.” Two very powerful words. I believe that God’s timing is perfect. It’s never early. It’s never late. Patient people have a level of faith that helps them overcome the obstacles and negative emotions that come from not seeing results in an instant. They know that the road of life is not easily traveled. There are bumps, there are bruises, there are delays, but patient people believe that they will see success when the time is right, and when they are actually ready to receive it.
This one feels especially important right now. We’ve had our patience tested more than we’ve probably ever had this year. Now with everything looking so different for everybody, we are growing more and more impatient for things to go back to some sort of “normal.” We have to have faith. Faith in each other, faith in the promise that things will be better.
“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:25.
Listen to the latest episode of my podcast, Betting on Yourself. Make sure to subscribe to my email list to stay connected with me and never miss an update!