We live in a fast-paced world where speed and efficiency are revered. “Just get ‘er done!” is a phrase we learned from friends and colleagues in Texas.

From one-minute manager to one-minute workouts to one-minute millionaires (all popped up on a quick internet search on “one minute”), our culture reinforces the belief that we can create results fast. And such a belief creates the pressure for quick results.

While there are times when speed and efficiency are important, such a mindset is very often rooted in the problem-focused, anxiety-based and reactive Victim Orientation. When this happens, the Rescuing role surfaces and there’s intense pressure to help, please and fix any discomfort. The Persecuting role feeds on impatience also by compulsively needing to be right, control or take charge – now!

Impatience is almost always fear-based. As contemporary poet and philosopher, Mark Nepo, observes: “Fear wants us to act too soon.” (Book of Awakening; July 7 reading.)

We know all too well how this feels and we can easily succumb to the seduction that all our projects need to get done… quickly! However, creating often takes time.

As a Creator, learning to practice patience in the process of producing outcomes is an important discipline.

Patience is distinct from procrastination, which we wrote about last week. We love this perspective from Fulton J. Sheen:

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing.’ It waits for the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

Patience is vital to your creating outcomes. Slowing down and taking the time to really pay attention to current conditions and options can open the gateway to your intuition, which inform your possible Baby Steps.

By acting too soon, impatience can result in unintended consequences that often lead to additional work to fix the unwanted results. As Mark Nepo adds, … “Patience, as hard as it is, helps us outlast our preconceptions.” If you are impatient to open the rose blossom that is not quite ready, the rose’s eventual beauty will be killed.

When you feel impatience start to arise, notice the urge well up inside you. Here are a few strategies to interrupt the impatience that may encourage premature action:

  • Pause. Take a deep breath. Feel your feet on the ground and become present to the moment and your thoughts and feelings.
  • Go for a walk. Take a break that gets you moving. This is a practice that David uses frequently that allows him, as he says, to “just percolate” on the issue at hand. (If you are at home, you can substitute a shower or a hot bath for walking.)
  • Learn to hold the tension. By learning to hold the Dynamic Tension between what you want (the outcome) and your current reality that is triggering the impatience, you can generate multiple possible Baby Steps, rather than impulsively jumping on the first plausible action.
  • Ask Before Telling. When impatient with another person, it is tempting to see them as a problem to fix, or someone to take care of, which can trigger the Rescuer in you. By asking them how they want to approach a situation or challenge, you treat them as a Creator and it causes you to slow down, listen and move into the TED* role of Coach.

By learning to practice patience, you will develop a discipline that will help you create outcomes individually and collectively. You may discover that patience actually produces timely outcomes that are more fulfilling and effective!