I’ve been thinking a lot lately about patience. In general, I need to practice it more regularly. When something needs done, I want to do it. When something is wrong, I want it fixed, corrected, edited or healed right away. When something needs said, I want to say it. This is often called “drive,” “ambition,” or being a “go-getter.” And none of those things are bad.
At least, not when the results are actually in your control. In a relationship of any kind – romantic, friendship, on a team at work, more often getting results is not completely in my control. (Ugh.)
So, at what point does patience come into play, and at what point does patience become settling? Think about it this way. The career I wanted wasn’t happening for me as I worked at someone else’s company waiting for an opportunity to truly shine and be fulfilled by my work, so I left to start my own company and created my dream job. There, lack of patience could have prevented me from settling, waiting, and either wasting time before finally being happy with my work or maybe never having found that happiness at all.
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here. I think the first thing to consider is how much you can control in the situation. If I want to spend more time with someone who is not available, I can express that frustration but it’s up to that person to make a change in their schedule, or for me to wait patiently until they’re able to do so. My control there is limited. If I want to launch a new project and my time is limited to prepare it, it’s up to me to either shift my priorities in my schedule, or put the project on hold if other priorities take precedent.
This is how I’m going to approach drive and patience now: Is patience the necessary grace here, or is it complacence? Do I take action now, or is there a better moment to pounce – or is this in someone else’s hands? And when patience is the answer, there’s only one place I know to get it. (Hint: not from within myself, that’s for sure!)
When have you struggled to call upon patience? When have you been able to act instead?