Cultivating Patience

The other day, I had a client ask me for tips on cultivating patience.

I have some real-life experience cultivating patience, so I actually had something to contribute to the topic.

Early in my life, my younger brother was in a motorcycle accident and became a quadriplegic. As he recuperated, I wanted to make things easy for him. I wanted to help. So naturally, my first instinct was to do things for him. But that wasn’t what was best, and it certainly wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted to learn how to do as many things as possible for himself, and he needed lots of practice. So I had to cultivate patience to keep myself from “just doing it for him.”

As my career developed and I had people reporting to me, I had to learn how to let my team figure things out for themselves. I had to let them make mistakes and learn from them. I had to let them do things their own way, not my way. I had to cultivate patience as I learned how to coach for development.

I recently was adopted by a rescue Golden Retriever. She’s an escaped puppy mill mama with all kinds of traumatic experiences that I can barely imagine. I went into this relationship knowing that it was going to take time and patience – and that I was going to have to brush up on my patience skills. Of course, it’s all worth it when I see her galloping around in the backyard with her first tennis ball ever, or when she snuggles up to me on the bed (even if it is 104 degrees!).

When I find that I’m not feeling patient, I have a few questions I ask myself to help me cultivate patience. Here are some of them:

What am I really trying to do here? Is there something more important than just getting things done?

Five minutes from now, will it really matter if we’re still working on this one thing?

Will I have more information in a little while? Will something change? What’s the real impact if I just wait?

What will I think about this in an hour? In a day? In a week? What will really matter at that point in time? (Hint: I bet it’s not my ToDo list!)

Can I change my perspective here? What about looking at it from another being’s point of view? (I say “being” because my cats and dog have very different ideas of what is important, and that change in perspective can be invaluable.)

I’m sure you have a few questions you could add in to the mix. Share them If you want, please!

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the pages,

Maggie

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