I have always been pretty impatient. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it’s not…
For example, I am currently waiting for the gas company to come change out our gas meter. He will be here between 12-4. How is that even allowed? But I guess it’s giving me time to write this!
Do you feel you are an impatient person? I thought I would ask this question on Facebook and I was blown away by the immediate overflow of comments.
My friend Heather (who I view as a super-patient mom) commented, “Literally read this right after I ‘accidentally’ punched my old computer tower that has our taxes from last year that won’t boot up… because #patience”.
It made me feel better about feeling this way myself and gave me more reason to write about this topic.
You probably consider yourself impatient if you relate to one or more of the following:
You would rather do things yourself than wait for others to do it.
You are a speed-walker.
You get frustrated when waiting for a website to load or in line at the grocery store.
You get irritated waiting for someone to respond to you.
Technology can be your best-friend or worst enemy.
You find yourself multi-tasking throughout the day.
You can’t relax until you feel you have achieved enough for the day.
Once you make a big accomplishment, you are already moving onto something bigger without much appreciation.
You feel the minutes ticking by and wonder if you even have time to continue reading this. (You do)
You may relate to this or you have a loved one you constantly tell to stop so being so damn impatient!
Either way, I know there is a balance that needs to happen with patience.
I have been aware of my impatience for quite awhile in certain areas of my life. I am very patient when people open up to me in conversation. However, I am known to be impatient by my husband constantly telling me to slow down walking. (That habit started with the 6 minutes to get to class with little legs in a huge high school)
I wanted to share the pros and cons of being impatient and how you may be able to shift your experience to slow down and enjoy the little things in life more often. Once we are aware of our impatient tendencies, we can work toward finding a balance.
Cons of Being Impatient
When we are constantly doing things, it typically means we have a serious need to be in control. With anxiety this is also common because we try to control the chaos around us. Whether it’s making sure your kitchen is spotless everyday or it’s micromanaging your employees, the need for control creates a tense and inflexible experience for you and others.
We live in a society where working under 40 hours is a bit strange. We usually work without breaks or vacations. We enjoy the satisfaction of completing tasks, achieving goals and adding money to our bank accounts. Yet, many workaholics are not fully satisfied with life.
We are not supposed to live to work. We are supposed to work to live.
By doing everything ourselves, we are actually enabling others. We are also not giving people the chance to shine their own light and do things that they are good at. Take a look around you. Are you doing everything for your significant other but then resenting them for not chipping in? Are you constantly giving to others but not receiving anything back? Do you take on extra responsibility at work even though there is someone else who should be doing those tasks? Do you often just do things yourself because you want it done “right”? Or do you find yourself constantly giving advice and help to others who just don’t want it, therefore your time and energy is wasted?
When you are constantly thinking and doing, you are exerting a ton of energy. Are you someone who doesn’t relax until it’s all finished? Do you ever take time out of the day to breathe or do something that brings you joy? Do you find yourself yelling and being frustrated throughout the day? Did you realize that by constantly doing, you are releasing stress hormones, which wreak havoc on your nervous system? This tends to lessen your energy and weaken your immune system. So although everything may be done (for now), you may find yourself getting sick more often or not getting a restful night’s sleep because of your constant thoughts.
Pros of Being Impatient
If you are a high-achiever, it is probably because you do not procrastinate. There’s a good chance you are organized with your time and responsibilities. Do you love checking things off of your to-do list and jumping onto the next thing? Do you have a long list of accomplishments and big dreams and know you can do it all? Do you seem to have a bustle of energy, especially down to the last minute? These are good traits to have, especially when you have big career and business goals.
You are probably constantly motivated and ready to get things done. Are you the one who is constantly pushing others to be the best they can be? Maybe you help people eat healthier, take risks and reach for their own dreams? You may be a good cheerleader for others and also not take excuses when people tell you they can’t do it or they don’t have time. We need people who are motivated or it would feel like a lazy, boring and unhealthy world.
By now you may have realized that you are only one person and have decided to let go of control and begin to delegate to others. Whether you get your groceries delivered or have an assistant who deals with your schedule, it can make a big difference in your day to day life. You are able to spend more time doing things you are good at instead of wasting time doing data entry or cleaning toilets.
Are you the person people call when they need something? Is your business known for its customer service? Are your kids able to rely on you to help them with a project or to make cookies for their class? You are most likely a good friend, parent, volunteer, and/or business owner because you are known to get things done. You like a good challenge to achieve as much as you can with the same 24 hours that “normal” people have in a day. When someone needs something in a jiffy, you get moving quickly so they don’t need to wait on you.
As you can see, there are positives and negatives for being an impatient person! Do you feel you have a good balance with it? Or is it causing you stress, overwhelm, anxiety, and frustration most days? If you are feeling tense and angry (and want to punch your loved ones), that is probably a good sign to make time to let go in this area a bit!
I have had to find a balance with my impatience. I have had to work with coaches on letting go of my anxiety and constant need to be do-ing. When I want something done, I want it done yesterday. It could be paperwork, laundry or just about anything else around me. I also don’t have much patience when people have ideas but it takes them forever to implement it. My head is saying, “Come on already! Didn’t you say you wanted this? What are you waiting for?”
While starting my own businesses probably wouldn’t have happened as quickly if I had just sat back and kept thinking about it. I took immediate action and kept moving forward, not even giving myself much time to think about it! In my gut, I knew it felt right so I just went for it. If I procrastinated too much and let the fear and worry overtake me, it may never have happened. Then I would be watching other people working on their dreams with frustration and envy. Instead, I get to motivate and support clients and employees every day to be the best they can be rather than allowing them to sit back and feel miserable in life.
My friend, Michelle Itzkowitz, owner of InnerGlow Yoga says, "Impatience can show up in many forms, whether waiting in traffic, waiting for your children to hurry up so you can drive them to school or waiting for someone to change. When we look at impatience, we seem to look at the negative and the stress that it causes. If we look at a situation through the eyes of patience, our compassion comes out in the sense that we want to assist those around us to be on time or reach their goals. Impatience magically leaves when we focus on the positive actions of love, compassion, kindness and acceptance, both for ourselves & those around us."
Take a minute (yes, you still have time), to think about 3-5 things that help you to feel in the moment. What allows the time to pass without you ever needing to look at the clock? Is it a walk on the beach, playing with your dog, cooking, singing, painting, talking to a close friend?
Making time to do these things more often, will allow you to be in the moment and feel less frustrated. Now get out your calendar and set the time! Even if you spend 20 minutes on Saturday to paint a picture, that’s awesome!
A Prayer for Slowing Down and Enjoying This Moment
Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, admidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the sighing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend or to make a new one;
To pat a stray dog,
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my great destiny.
(A wonderful old prayer, with different author credits depending upon your reference source)
"A certain amount of impatience may be useful to stimulate and motivate us to action. However, I believe that a lack of patience is a major cause of the difficulties and unhappiness in the world today." Joseph B. Wirthlin
The next Hope & Peace Retreat has been announced! This is perfect chance for young women to find a balance for their patience, dreams and relaxation.
Learn more and apply at: