Impatiently Patient: A Note on Waiting It Out

They say patience is a virtue. Let’s call it for what it is: patience can be annoying. As dreamers, doers, and achievers that live in a world of instant gratification, it’s hard to say, “OK,” and sit back when you’re yearning for something to happen right now. That may mean a new job, a promotion, a raise, or having your side project hit it big.

To be clear, wanting any of the above does not automatically mean entitlement, which is a word that plagues our generation. When you’ve spent the time and put in the work, of course you’re eager to get ahead. But impatience is different from entitlement. I’m talking about when you have clear proof that you’re ready for something more and deliverables to back it all up, i.e. you’re working for it.

It feels like while you’re ready, the world isn’t – yet. That’s really hard to grasp when you know you are so much more than you are right now. That’s when patience becomes a lesson. It’s not about waiting forever for something to happen, it’s taking tactical steps to continue to push forward and make it happen eventually.

I am a big culprit of lack of patience. As someone who is admittedly very achievement oriented, I get a thrill out of attaining the next thing, whatever it is that I want at a particular time. There were times when I’ve gone after something too soon and it was like the world said, “Nope continue the journey first.” I get flustered when that happens. Baffled. Frustrated. It feels like a rubber band bouncing me right back into the middle.

Patience is about accepting the now for what it is and learning and planning for that eventual next phase. Work hard and ease up on any timelines you give yourself. There’s a reason the quote “It’s a marathon, not a race” exists. It’s important to remember that you won’t be stagnant forever. Doing something rash to get that instant gratification – going after a position that may not be the right fit or going after more money in a role you’re less happy in – is not a solution. The next step has to feel right, fully and completely.

Easier said than done, I know. Patience is a part of life. There are a handful of Brit Morins or Leandra Medines out there but most people don’t reap the rewards of their work until much later on. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia. He’s built a whole personal brand off of this idea. (Disclaimer: It’s a kick in the pants).

How do you practice patience in your career?

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