I’m writing this from the gymnastics gym while my daughter is in class. I had to bring my son with me today for a variety of reasons, and he is practically vibrating with impatience. He keeps asking how many more minutes and groaning and putting his head down when I tell him how much longer until we can leave and go home and get a snack.
I get how he feels. I have spent a pretty fair amount of time feeling just as impatient—and I didn’t have the excuse of being six years old. =)
Impatience can be motivating—if there’s something you’ve been tolerating too long, and it’s starting to bug you and give you ants in your pants, DEFINITELY, use it to get moving!
But in my experience, impatience is more often a hindrance than a help.
Impatience can be a sneaky way of trying to convince yourself that whatever you want isn’t available to you. Like, if it hasn’t happened yet it must mean there’s some reason why it’s never going to happen and so you may as well give up already. Or things are taking longer because there’s something wrong with you and so you start feeling sorry for myself.
Impatience is triggered by fear, and fear is always a lie. The truth is, timing is not your business. (Click to Tweet!)
Getting clear on what you want and taking steps toward it—absolutely your business. But when things come to fruition—totally out of your control. And honestly, when something happens doesn’t really matter.
For example, when I wrote my first book, I had to shop it around to publishers for a full year and then it was another year before it came out. Did it matter that it took two years to go from idea to reality? Looking back, I can see that it absolutely did not. What mattered was, I wrote a book and it got published.
For my newest book that starts shipping in just a couple weeks, the whole process, from concept to tangible thing you can hold in your hand, took under a year. Do I get some kind of gold star because it happened so quickly? I do not.
Trying to control the timing of something is:
- Futile, and therefore a waste of energy
- A distraction from your primary focus, which is delivering value
- A stick that you can too easily use to beat yourself with by feeling bad that things aren’t happening in the timing you want
- A habit; and habits can be changed (hallelujah!)
Next time you feel that heat of impatience rising, remind yourself that timing is none of your business. And then consider, how might the timing actually be working out perfectly? If that feels like a stretch, think about being on your deathbed and looking back on whatever it is you’re going through—will you care about how long it took? I’m guessing the answer is no.
And then go get busy doing something that is in your control.