Growing up, one of the best pieces of advice my elders offered to me is to have patience. I still do believe in having a lot of patience but only when necessary. I’ve seen patience backfire on people too, particularly in the corporate world.
I’ve always found it interesting when I have performance discussions with employees and they tell me that they were not able to complete a task or meet a deadline because their coworkers did not respond to their requests from weeks or even months ago. When asked why they didn’t follow up or make the request again, the common response is that they were trying to be patient and not bother people. When I ask them to be persistent and follow up next time, they say that persistence will be seen as impatience.
So, maybe it is just semantics but if persistence equals impatience, perhaps, we all need to learn to be a little impatient. I believe wholeheartedly that we need the right balance between patience and impatience but when it comes to getting things done and moving forward in work and in life, a little impatience can do us good.
At the pace things change these days, we can’t afford to wait around too long for things to happen. We need to allow ourselves to push a little to get to where we want to be. The art is in determining when we should wait and when we should persist.
The notion that good things come to those who wait does not always apply in today’s world. Often times, good things come to those who refuse to wait for them. It may have been best said by Abraham Lincoln, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
That’s my story. What’s yours? When has impatience worked to your advantage and when has it hurt you?