There aren’t many universal rules in life. Patience falls into this area. Sometimes it does pay to go right for something. Not waiting for just the right moment.
But obviously there are many times when it pays off to be patient. The longer you wait for something the more reward you get in the future. It’s a common rule for life. Not universally true, but a good general rule to follow.
One of the reasons patience can pay off is that lacking it can lead to disappointment. It can also lead to poor decision making.
If you feel that your outcomes in work might be due to lack of patience, here are a few thoughts.
1. Examine Your Urgency Triggers
Urgency creeps into our lives is interesting ways. There are true urgency moments. Like when you severely cut yourself falling down or break a bone. Getting help as soon as possible is truly crucial.
Maybe in business you get a call from your biggest customer. It probably makes sense to put things on hold to take care of them if they have an issue.
But it’s easy for things that aren’t urgent to feel that way. And it can change each day and throughout the day. Let’s say you’ve been wanting to schedule time with your boss to discuss a raise. And they keep putting it off. It feels urgent sometimes.
There are no right or wrongs with urgency. But look back on decisions you’ve made that haven’t worked out. See if false urgency played a role. Then watch for this tendency in the future.
2. Distraction Can Be Good
When you feel that urgency is creeping into your work life try to aim for quick distraction. Our thoughts can change by the moment. One second you’re feeling stressed and pressure to make something happen. The next you’re calm and confident.
If you feel a negative urgency coming on, try to find something that works as a distraction. Maybe it’s going for a run. Maybe it’s calling a coworker just to see how they’re doing. There are a number of little distractions you can go to so that the feeling can pass normally and you can get back on track.
3. Re-Frame How You Compare To Others
Sometimes with work we can start looking at what others are doing and compare it to ourselves. Someone gets a promotion. We wonder if we should be further along in our careers. Things like that.
I can’t remember who told me, but it was a great lesson in life several years ago. They said that everyone has little areas of life that they focus on. Some people spend their money on cars. Others on houses. Others on hobbies. The key is not chasing what others are doing or trying to do everything. It’s understanding yourself and doing your best to put your effort into what matters to you.
Try to compare yourself to others in this way. Not necessarily how you’re doing compared to them. But how you’re doing based on what you would like to do in life and what the realistic expectations are for you to get there based on other things you’re focusing on with your life. Family, friends, hobbies, etc.
4. Create Smaller Steps
Big goals get us excited. But they can also create disappointment when we don’t make progress. Or when we don’t feel that we’re making progress. It’s very important to create smaller steps so you can see the progress in your work. You may want to get a promotion or reach a certain sales level or something like that. But work it backwards to things you can see and feel each day, week and month.
5. Replay History
If you’re feeling disappointed at work think back a few years. Focus on how things have changed. Usually when we look back we can see the progress. It can help us feel better about what we want for the future and can add the patience needed to see it through.
Patience can play an important part in our lives. It can lead to better work. It can lead to growth at work. And the lack of it can often lead to frustration and sometimes poor decision making. If you’re struggling with the lack of patience, hopefully these few items can help.