More Patience Please by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

Learning something new is never easy. To make learning more complicated, which seems very natural and simple to one person can be very challenging for another. When we are learning something, or when we are trying to teach others, giving a bit more patience can be a much-needed gift.

There is an old saying about the best players often making the worst coaches, and there are many examples in sports as well as in business to attest to this reality. When individuals are naturally gifted at something, they often lack the patience needed to teach others. Gifted people may also lack patience for themselves, which results in frustration when they struggle to learn something new.

Patience is not just something we provide for others; it is something we give to ourselves. It is also something that can be developed. With a bit of attention to our thoughts and our triggers, we can learn to be more patient to everyone in our lives.

  • Notice your triggers – keeping take of what is happening when you begin to lose patience with yourself or someone else is the first step in the process. Stop and think about what was going on, who was involved, and how you were feeling. It is common to have specific patterns around triggers for impatience or frustration, and these triggers can be internal as well as external. Often being tired, stressed, hungry, and feeling pressed are internal triggers, while specific people, events, or tasks can be external triggers.
  • Breathe in and out – breathing is an amazing practice to address impatience and frustration. When you notice you are starting to lose your patience, take a minute and breath in deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. When you are exhaling, think the work relax or patience in your mind. Usually, after 3 to 5 deep breaths, there is a calming of the mind as well as the body.
  • Take a break – walking away, having a coffee, switching to another task that is easy, or just thinking about something else for a couple of minutes can help to relieve stress and frustration. Keep in mind, if you are trying to teach someone else, she or he is feeling your impatience and frustration as well. Taking a break allows you to take a mental as well as physical time out before something is said or done that demonstrates your frustration and impatience.
  • Be kind – looking for the success and the accomplishments you or others have made is a simple way to move forward. When you are looking for achievements and accomplishments, you are less likely to focus on those things that are irritating or frustrating.

Practicing patience is something everyone can do. Being kind to yourself and others during the learning process fosters patience and helps to set a positive environment for everyone.