Recently I’ve read a number of articles and blog entries about importance of patience in leadership.
Why is patience such a hot topic lately?
My suspicion is that, the way we are handling our culture of “shoulds,” “musts” and “rush” is triggering an over-reliance on this “virtuous” state of holding one’s own.
But in many cases, more empowering leadership and self-leadership qualities would serve better—long before patience is required.
Let’s look at Webster’s definition of patience: “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.”
And now, Google’s: “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
I don’t know about you, but I really like the idea of “acceptance” when it means making peace with where I am, so that now I might launch a new desire, or a solution, from a more grounded, peaceful place.
In fact, making peace with what is, at least temporarily, might contribute to the most useful mental model of patience. I call this evolved patience—the ability to make peace with certain undesirable conditions, while you are going for a much desired outcome. With this kind of patience, you find it easier to maintain focus on the outcomes you are looking for.
Think of the patience that’s required to build a cairn (pictured above). You have a combination of focus, while you make peace with the fact that you’ll probably meet with failure in multiple tries, as you eventually complete your tower of stone—and it will take time.
But to get back to our traditional definitions: “tolerance?” “Bearing pains?”
That all sounds to me like “putting up with.”
Is the ability to put up with something undesirable really a leadership quality?
Are you having fun doing what you are doing? Too often folks associate “fun” with “lightweight” or "not earnest." We even throw around the word “serious” as if it is a compliment, as in, “She has a serious job.”
There are certainly times when humor and/or a lighthearted approach simply don’t feel appropriate, but my sense is that there are a lot of folks who are suffering from, well, a serious need of lightening up a bit. We need to make a habit of looking for more fun in our days—asking how we can “make it more fun,” or at least feel better in more life situations—especially at work. After all, are we more productive and of the most value to others when we are “grinding,” or when we are in in the midst of inspired action?
Certainly neuroscience supports this argument! In fact, this entry is an expansion on my comment responses to colleague, Jesse Lynn Stoner’s excellent post on rewiring your brain for leadership. Jesse’s advice includes guiding our thoughts toward the pleasant and the positive, especially during periods of high-demand on our personal resources.
This blog is focused on self-leadership, so let’s expand on our personal mental models of what is fun. My idea of fun includes inner life fun, and “inspired action” fun. A partial list…
Transforming Limiting Beliefs.
This last weekend, I facilitated a mini-workshop on transforming limiting beliefs at the ATMA center in West Hartford, Connecticut. Why was this workshop important? Why would anyone participate in such a workshop?
Imagine that you have a superpower that at the flip of a switch, allows you to change how you perceive yourself, others, and your life. Imagine that by using this power, you could improve work performance, enhance relationships, and enhance your health. That by using this extraordinary gift, you could unlock possibilities and potentials that were formerly hidden from you.
Well, that’s exactly how changing out a limiting belief can work. To see how your current beliefs are working for you, just look around. Your beliefs are operating around-the-clock, and they’re bringing you whatever is aligned with them… and not necessarily what you want.
Clearly, knowing how to recognize and transform limiting beliefs is a very real superpower.
But what is a belief? And what is a “limiting belief?”