“Where has all the patience gone?” I ask myself that question a lot, because it seems like I keep on losing it and have a hard time finding it. I sure wish it was something you could buy, I’d be bankrupt.
Okay, I don’t think I’m that bad. Patience is situational isn’t it. Doesn’t it depend on who or what you have to wait for? If you have to wait consistently for the same person, do you get used to it or just keep getting agitated. I find the best way to combat impatience, especially when you have to wait for someone, is to have a backup plan. Have something else to do when you wait.
If I’m at home waiting for someone, I’ll do the dishes, take the trash out, play with the dogs, read or do something more productive than pacing around watching the clock tick by. It’s taken me a while to realize that you really can’t control other people’s priorities and time schedules, only influence them to see it your way.
I know a lot of people, me included at times, who have the same thoughts as Margret Thatcher who said “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”
But that isn’t an effective way to build relationships.
In “Winning With People” John C. Maxwell has a chapter on patience, I guess you have to have it in order to get along with people, who would’ve thought? You need to connect with people and develop patience because;
Patience without connection – the relationship lacks energy
Connection without patience – the relationship lacks potential
Connection with patience – the relationship has energy and potential
Unfortunately you need patience in order to develop patience, but John gives us six steps to become a more patient person in our relationships with others;
- Prioritize patience as a virtue worthy of developing – Having patience with people is beneficial to you, but you might not see the return right away.
- Understand that it takes time to build good relationships – Relationships of any depth takes time to develop, all good relationships take time.
- Practice the exchange principle – If you start to get inpatient with a person, put yourself in their place.
- Realize that people have and create problems – You have to take the good and bad that comes with people.
- Identify areas people need to have patience with you – Patience goes both ways, what areas do people need to have patience with you?
- Recognize that all relationships have give-ups, give-ins, and give-and-takes – We all need to be flexible in our patience with people.
Isn’t patience key when working with people? We have to wait to meet with them, we have to wait for them to understand the idea we’re telling them, we have to wait for them to do something that they know they need to do, we have to wait for them when you know you’re going to be late, you need to wait for them when they have different priorities. If you travel with others you need to understand that you need patience. Without it, you may get short-tempered and push the person too far. If you’re impatient with others you may find yourself walking through life alone because you either don’t want to wait for others or they become impatient with your impatience and leave you.
Action: As you go through the month take some time at the end of each day to think about moments you became impatient. Write down who was involved and what activity was happening. Was it the activity, the inability to do something else, or the person that caused your impatience? How did your impatience affect the other person and your relationship with them?
Some hard questions to answer but necessary ones to explore our own leadership soulutions.