The Power of Patience

Patience is the only path to immediate results.  Book of Miracles

Let’s be honest, patience isn’t in vogue. Results must come immediately, now!  Contrary to the “Just Do It” messages we are bombarded with, patience requires that we do the exact opposite. A good moto for patience might be “Just Leave It”.  Perhaps that’s why patience gets overlooked.  It feels so passive.  Notwithstanding, in any growth process, including improving our relationship with money, patience is vital. 

Here’s an example of how impatience kills progress. Imagine you want to grow a carrot in your garden.   You follow the instructions by creating a little hole in the soil then drop in and cover a seed. Let’s assume the garden has good sunlight and occasional rain…. all the right ingredients for growing carrots! The instructions say it will take about 70 days for the carrot to fully grow.

With only 20 days gone you start to feel impatient. Anxious to know your carrot’s progress, you dig it up. Much to your disappointment, no growth is evident.  In truth growth has occurred – a carrot seed takes as long as 3 weeks to germinate – it just isn’t visible to the naked eye.   By digging the seed up, the growth process is interrupted.  Belief in the process lost, we declare defeat and toss the seed. 

I use the carrot analogy for two reasons:

Firstly, the carrot is a universal symbol for incentive.  We’ve all heard the phrase about motivation coming from either the carrot or the stick.  BTW, I’m 100% in favour of the carrot method.

Secondly, in my coaching programs, 70 days (10 weeks) is a realistic timeframe to see “immediate” results to emerge. Change however is not the starting place.   I’ve found that conversations about change in the early stages of coaching are misplaced. They stress people out and turn people off.  Talk of change has caused many a fledgling coaching candidate to bolt! The truth is, early on most people aren’t ready to change.  They don’t have the incentive.  Not any incentive will do – it must be one we define for ourselves.  

Like a seed germinating, this is inner-work that can’t be side stepped.  Essential elements include self-examination and reflection.  Outcomes include insights that can be used to inform later action. The process is all natural and the results are home grown.  During this period of inner-work, the idea is to resist the urge to rush or to fix anything.  To do otherwise would be akin to uprooting the carrot prematurely.   

In my coaching programs, some find this period of “inactivity” uncomfortable. Of course, there is outer-work i.e. exercises to complete and new information to absorb, but the ingredient needed most at this stage? You guessed it – patience.   It may feel passive, but believe me:

Patience is progress

If the idea of patience doesn’t feel active enough for you, feel free to replace it with more heroic sounding words like persistence or endurance.  Each references the capacity to tolerate delay and each has sustained humankind’s most epic advancements.