If you’re like me and grew up in an environment where time was equated to clichés such as “Don’t waste my time,” “Time is money,” and “Being early means being on time,” you may have also adopted a “rush to get things done, so you can focus on what you’d like to” mentality.

Further, your level of patience for inefficiency or waiting may be dictated by your interests and desires, which make you want to just get things done.

The courage to slow down.

More than a decade ago, a mentor told me, “Mindy, if you are too many steps ahead of everyone else, you’re not leading, as no one can keep up and follow.” The impact of her feedback and the duality of that statement shifted my attitude and approach.

As I learned more about how my behaviors and actions impacted others, I gained a newfound respect and appreciation for time and patience. Accordingly, I now make it a point to check in with others to understand how they’re feeling and assess their readiness for change versus assuming they’re with me and tracking at the same pace.

Recently I came across Korn Ferry’s CEO Gary Burnison’s article, Impatiently Patient,” which instantly piqued my interest.

He shares:

“…First of all, the best leaders are often impatient—they can’t afford to be complacent. And most of them also have a need to achieve, which makes taking on challenges a particularly strong motivator. But patience also shows up in more subtle, nuanced ways—like having empathy for people and exhibiting composure during times of high stress and crises. It’s a tall order, but that’s the yin and yang of leadership.”

I also found Elizabeth Taylor’s reflection on patience insightful:

“It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time,
the greater our capacity for waiting.”

The good news is that you don’t need a specific job title to embrace your leadership potential. You just need to be ready and willing to accept it.

Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills can support you.

With patience, you gain clarity and space to align internally, which is crucial when emotions run high. When you’re emotionally and situationally aware of yourself and others, you can be more open to others’ perspectives and be more effective in your decision-making.

There are a few Multi-Health Systems’ EQ competencies that you can tap into to balance out your sense of urgency with patience: Empathy, Impulse Control, and Reality Testing.

  • Empathy is welcoming how others feel, where you acknowledge, inquire, and demonstrate compassion and assistance as needed.
  • Impulse Control is your ability to resist a pull to act immediately and involves avoiding reactive behaviors.
  • Reality Testing is your capacity to remain objective by seeing things as they really are, removing any emotions or personal biases.

Collectively, these skills can assist you in evaluating your intentions and how best to proceed while considering the effect on others. For example, are you:

  • Pushing or forcing a specific outcome at the expense of others?
  • Being unrealistic as to what is actually possible?
  • Cutting corners for short-term gains that may have a longer-term negative impact?
  • Listening to those “in the know” to understand their position?
  • Receptive to feedback and open to reconsidering where appropriate?

Depending on your answers, you can determine if you should pause and reassess further before pushing your agenda forward.

Break the cycle by incorporating new ways of being.

It takes persistence to change your outlook or habitual tendencies, especially when you’d like others to follow along. Here are a few practices to help you reframe your relationship with the clock.

Tackle your belief system.

This is all about tuning into your inner dialogue and mindset to eliminate the “I must____” and “I absolutely should____” from your vocabulary and thinking. These views stem from what you believe is true for you to feel okay. You may or may not be conscious of your attitudes and opinions and how they affect what you do.

Regulate your nervous system.

The more you listen to your body, you’ll notice the signs pushing you to slow down. For example, you may feel a pounding in your chest, or your neck and shoulders may tense up. To reduce anxiety, choose something to calm your system fast, like sitting still, doing a short meditation or breathing exercises, or going for a walk to clear your mind. Also, journaling or speaking to someone you trust about your concerns may help you process residual emotions. Providing yourself with these precious moments can transform you and those around you.

Stop the self-imposed rushing.

When you rush, often the quality of your output suffers. You also tend to miss out on the experience—what you see, feel, hear—when you jump from A to B. To shift perspective, slow down, and engage in what you’re doing. Evaluate where the pressure comes from and what’s in your control to change. Start focusing on accomplishing tasks that come easily to you, so you can reenergize and strategize your next steps.

Progress is within your reach.

Your thoughts, feelings, and actions are all interconnected. As a lifelong student, certified professional coach, and consultant, activating the best in others through self-leadership, interpersonal relations, and team dynamics are passions of mine. My approach is personalized and customized, tapping into various assessments, disciplines, modalities, and techniques. To learn more, schedule a call with me.

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