Patience is my weakest virtue. I will be the first to admit it. In any decision-making matrix, choices can be boiled down to three main types of options: act, do nothing or wait. I’ve mostly bounced between the first two options, but I’ve quickly learned that in life and in leadership, waiting provides a very fresh perspective to problems. Contrary to popular belief, waiting and doing nothing are two different choices that have vastly different impacts. Where doing nothing takes you out of the game, waiting suggests an element of preparation and analysis that adds value to the eventual action.
Some context is probably necessary for this post. I’ve had a rough past week. In multiple efforts I made to advance certain things, I wasn’t responded with a definitive “no” but rather with a “Now is not the right time”. One example is the Grad Program I was really hoping to get into, that eventually put me on a waitlist, which in their words was still a “great distinction”. I think what frustrated me more wasn’t that I wasn’t told “Yes”, but rather that I’d have to exercise patience for a definitive answer.
This series of events definitely challenged me to relook my fast paced way fo life and reconsider how I made decisions and responded to situations. Moving fast and breaking things isn’t necessarily a bad idea in our early youth – it’s how we overcome obstacles and exploit our energy. As we mature though, it becomes important to pause, posture and pounce rather than to be impulsive. Patience becomes a way to exercise restraint and to focus more on understanding the situation. Patience becomes a method to building yourself up; preparing yourself for the actual moment you do have to make a decision.
I think I’m going to need a lot of help in practicing patience. Having been an entrepreneur in a company that was just starting up, I was used to the power and autonomy of making decisions as I saw fit and acting quickly on intuition. A lot of that worked out. I’ve always trusted my gut, and it’s done me well. But I definitely retroactively think that patience would have done me some good in different parts of my life.
I am always a lesser version of the future me, and it is my obligation to make sure I give my future self the best shot at his future. Even if I’m not ready for an opportunity now, I can make sure I’m ready for the one that rolls up in a month. Patience isn’t a passive value, it’s an active, deliberate decision. And I will learn to master it.