I kind of hate the idea of writing on patience.
Mostly because no one really cares about it and it’s not immediately evident why patience is important. But, that’s also precisely why it needs to be written on so much more.
Patience, as an operating system, can mean the difference between a life spent in constantly struggle versus one of accomplishment and growth.
Or more specifically, actualizing patience is, in my mind, the #1 thing you can do for your success, wellbeing and peace of mind.
See, there is a huge difference between productivity and urgency. I talk about #GSD (“Get shit done”) — to me, productivity is a value system. Hard work is a mode of operation. Consistent hustle is my natural state. But all that is different than urgency. Urgency, while it can be useful for deadlines and when you find yourself procrastinating, overall, a sense of urgency when applied to big changes you want to make can be crippling.
Think about it: urgency is like sprinting. And conversely, consistent and diligent effort is the marathon. And in everything, the sprint peters out:
- You do a 21-day detox, only to eat everything in sight on day 22.
- You work hard for 2 months on your new blog only to have amassed just 10 followers, and welp, time to give up, it’s too much effort for such little pay off.
- You start a new fitness regimen and after 4 weeks you look the same. Must not be working!
- You start dating someone, and within 3 dates they haven’t asked you to move in yet. Just not meant to be.
Can we all just relax for a second?
Since when does instant reward turn into long-term success? Since when does putting in a flash-in-the-pan effort lead to sustainable outcomes?
And yet, I look around and all I see are people giving up on things they say they want because it’s all not happening fast enough.
I understand it, of course I do. Especially when we are in a situation that feels miserable. We want out of this job we hate so we need our online business to take off, like yesterday. We can’t stand the fact that our clothes are tight, so we need this weight off right this second.
But quick-fixes, shortcuts and gimmicks are all simply Band-Aids. But we keep flocking to them because they are shiny, new, sexy and promise fast results with little effort.
The truth is that nothing worth having ever came easy.
We know this intellectually, and yet we still don’t want to slow down, get methodical and strap in for the long haul. But we need to, if we ever want to create sustainable change for ourselves.
I want to share with you the 4 ways I’ve used to turn patience into something to shoot for, instead of something to loathe:
1) You have to, on some level, fall in love with the process.
Ask, would I do this even if I wasn’t getting paid? Or if I wasn’t losing weight? Because guess what, if you can’t find joy in the process then you are never going to be able to sustain the result.
The end does not justify the means. The means are the end.
Success isn’t somewhere you show up to; it’s a journey that you’re on forever. You act, learn, do better, then act some more, learn more, do even better, and repeat — always elevating, always working, always learning.
The reason this is so important is because at the beginning of your business, you literally are not going to be getting paid. At the beginning of your fat loss journey, the weight might fall off initially, but at some point you’re going to hit a plateau. This is just the nature of the journey.
So instead of expecting it all to be linear and predictable, could you instead just assume that you’ll encounter twists, turns, move backwards, forwards, side to side? And you will. And the only way you’ll be able to sustain all of that and still stay the course is if, on a daily basis, you learn to find enjoyment in it.
Quote: “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” ~Winston Churchill
2) Realize that you are going to be putting effort into the Trust Piggybank for a long time before you can cash out.
When I was a kid, I was super messy. My parents would be constantly asking me to clean my room. And I would. And I don’t know if this happened to you at 10 years old, but I’d start cleaning my room and before I knew it, I’d be taking out old art projects and old toys and start playing with them, or I’d open up old games and go through them.
My parents would come in an hour later and say, “Uh, I thought you were cleaning your room, not making it messier.” And I’d respond, “It has to get worse before it gets better!”
This is how you build anything worthwhile. It has to be cumbersome, boring and unsexy for a long time before it starts getting sleek, exciting and attention-worthy.
At the beginning, you are going to be taking consistent action and it is going to feel like no one gives a shit. No one is watching. No one is giving you positive feedback, and you are not seeing any visible results for your effort.
You will want to quit.
THIS IS NORMAL. Trust that it’s part of the process.
The key is remembering two things:
- People are paying attention, they are intrigued, they are watching, reading, taking note, but they are not interacting because they don’t know what to do with it all yet. They are seeing your Facebook posts. They are reading some of your blogs. They notice that you are doing things differently and they are interested in it, but they are not ready to cop to their interest yet. They’re not ready to reach out and ask for help or share their own story yet. But they will. Eventually they’ll be ready, and you need to remember that when all you can think is, WTF? I promise you that’s how it works. But you need to be consistent and confident. And when you are, people show up.
- The work you are doing now will serve you later. You are building something, and the foundation of that something is not sexy. Your first two dozen blogs. Your first 8 weeks of new workouts. Your first online program that you launched to 14 people. These steps are not sexy, but they are the most important parts of your journey because they are the process by which you build your assets. You are building your body of work with these things.
Think about it — you don’t write 500 blogs without writing two dozen first. You don’t achieve 8 months of consistent workouts without racking up 8 weeks’ worth first. You don’t get to launch a product and land 100 new clients without launching to 14 people first. Every single new blogger starts with 1 reader.
You have to go through step #1 to get to step #2. And I promise that groundwork is not only necessary, but a most important foundation that will give back to you later. Things do get easier, but not before they’re hard for a while.
True, long-term success is a privilege born out of years in the grind.
Quote: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~Thomas Edison
3) You have to earn the right to flexibility.
Last Spring, I took a trip to Europe for 9 weeks, during which I exercised a total of 8 times, only 2 of which included any actual weight lifting.
When I came home, I was a tad softer but was the same size in clothes and within a couple of weeks of being back at the gym, had shed water and tightened right back up. I could never have afforded to take that much time off from lifting if I was a beginner or if I hadn’t built a base of muscle from years in the gym (if I wanted to maintain my physique).
I remember reading a quote from Monica Brant 10 years ago, and she referenced “muscle maturity” — the concept that once you have a base of muscle and you have been working it for a number of years, you don’t have to try as hard to maintain it. Yes, that’s exactly right. Why? Because that muscle is now working for you. You don’t have to tirelessly scrape up every single result, because you’ve been at it long enough that you get to relax a bit.
It’s the same thing with building an online following. Jen Sinkler can afford to not post on her Facebook business page for a week when she goes to the Dominican Republic with her husband on vacation. She’s built up a ton of trust and clout over years, with hundreds of pieces of content. So when she comes back, everything picks right back up. We actually even miss her!
I see so many new entrepreneurs and bloggers feeling entitled to say no to stuff, when they haven’t even said yes nearly enough yet. When you have zero clients, you say yes. If you are just getting started, you can’t afford time off or to take it easy or to be discerning. Say yes to everything. Do shit for free. Put out a tremendous amount of content, time, effort and value.
And then, a year from now, 3 years from now, 10 years from now, you will have earned the right to say no. You will have earned the right for things to be a little easier. You will have earned the right to flexibility.
Quote: “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” ~Thomas Jefferson
4) Patience is the antidote to anxiety.
I don’t know about you, but when I feel like I have all the time in the world to figure something out and there is zero urgency, I relax. I stop being scared of messing up every second, and I even find myself more inspired to stick with the process. It was certainly this way for me when I moved from all-or-nothing dieter to #moderation365 advocate.
Urgency, impatience and scarcity all add up to one big pile of anxiety that can keep us paralyzed in inaction and self-doubt.
When I feel as if I need to have some finite resolution by a specific date, I get filled with dread.
We feel this often with weight loss, right? We say, “I need to lose 10 pounds by my vacation next month!” and as a result, it becomes an obsessive battle we’re terrified of losing.
Patience, on the other hand, gives us permission to take time and space to arrive at a resolution whenever that is. We aren’t scared to mess-up because we see the bigger picture. We know that in order to lose 10 pounds for good, we have to allow ourselves the mental option that we’re probably not going to get it right every time we sit down to eat, and that’s fine. But we trust that at some point, we will get it.
Patience is a form of self-trust.
And those who have it mastered know they can handle anything that comes up. They aren’t scared of obstacles. They don’t fear missteps and failures. Patience allows for the journey to continue as long as it needs to. No deadlines, no expectations, no stress. And ironically, letting those things go actually make us more productive, more inclined to take action and way more fearless.
Quote: “Patience is not just about waiting for something … it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.” ~Joyce Meyer
What chou think? Ready for a slow and steady 2016? I am.
One of my fav mantras is: New Year, Same Goals. 2016 is just one year in my life-long commitment to betterment. It’s nothing. And yet, my tenacity this year will mean everything heading into 2017. Ready to do the work, ready to stay the course, ready for the consistency. Bring on the boring! Bring on the life-changing ;)
Some tweetables for you: