As I sit here in the park near my home in Denver on this warm fall day, I’m admiring the vibrant autumn colors surrounding me and am reminded of a story from my childhood.
When I was about ten years old, my dad and stepmother picked up my six-year old sister and me for our weekly visit, and announced that we were going to spend the weekend driving through New England to look at “foliage”. Now, as you probably know, fall in New England is unmatched for it’s colorful beauty, but to a couple of ten and six year olds, this did not sound like our idea of an exciting, fun weekend with Dad. What on earth WAS foliage, anyway?
Needless to say, we spent the weekend whining and complaining about how boring it was to look at the leaves changing. We wanted to hurry up and get back to the hotel so we could watch TV, or play with our Barbies, or eat brussels sprouts; anything would be better than looking at some dumb old leaves. Our parents graciously put up with our nonsense and somehow managed to enjoy themselves in spite of our collective tantrums.
I remember this story now not just because of the time of year, or my current red and gold-hued environment, or even because of the obvious appreciation I’ve now garnered for the awful “foliage” I despised that weekend. No, I thought of it because much like that weekend, I’ve been feeling really impatient lately.
This impatience seems to be manifesting in the lives of many of my clients too. How about you? Have you got the impatient bug?
The way it’s showing up for me and my clients seems to be in the form of frustration, anxiety and discouragement around our BIG goals not coming together quickly enough. One client said she felt like time was “slipping away” because of an injury that’s sidelined her ability to keep things moving forward on her BIG Vision project. I’m finding I’m easily distracted and unmotivated when I start worrying about the ever-growing list of to-do’s I have in my coaching business.
Something I’ve learned recently, however, is to try and see the opportunity in any frustrating situation I come across.
I ask myself:
- What am I supposed to learn from this?
- How is this experience exactly perfect in my life right at this moment?
- Where is the lesson here that’s going to make me a little better, a little stronger, a little more on-the-right-track?
For my client who worries about her ability to get shit done for her BIG Vision project as quickly as possible, and for me constantly worrying about the unfinished state of my to-do list, maybe the opportunity is to learn to have faith in the process and enjoy the journey, bumps and all?
We all want that awesome end result sooner rather than later, right? Of course we do. I can’t wait for my website to be dialed in, for all my programs to be ready and available, and for everyone to know my name as being synonymous with providing solutions for Rebellious Professionals to transform their lives. My client can’t wait for her book to be ready to sell, for her movement to begin, and for Oprah to call.
But if we spend so much time focusing our energy on the future outcome, we miss the little details along the way. We miss the foliage.
So today, draw your attention to the ways in which impatience shows up for you:
- It might come up while you’re waiting in line for your morning coffee
- Or in the form of anxiety over your unfinished to-do's
- Maybe it’ll look like frustration about being where you are right now, instead of where you think you “could” or “should” be
Once you notice it’s there, take a second to step out of it and decide what the opportunity is for you in that moment:
- Does the long wait for coffee give you a minute to collect your thoughts before a big meeting, or maybe there’s someone in line that you can smile at to brighten both your days?
- What new things will you have the chance to learn along the way while you’re completing all those to-do’s? With mine, I’m learning dozens of new things every week, from technological skills to marketing strategies. My to-do list is invaluable for learning new things.
- In what ways is being exactly where you are, at exactly this moment completely and totally perfect? How is this moment preparing you for all the amazing things soon to come?
How else does that impatience manifest in your life? In what ways are you already appreciating your journey? Tell us in the comments below.
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Did this story add value to your Monday? (Or whatever day you're finding it...?) If so, I'd be honored if you'd share it with your favorite people. You'll get a virtual high-five from me if you do... :)
With love and inspiration (and gratitude to my parents for their patience with me over the years),