Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength. ~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I find it curious that the word patient has two distinct meanings, yet both encompass bearing some level of discomfort over a period of time (even if it’s just being in the waiting room of a doctor’s office!).

We all have individual and collective anniversaries, memories and milestones that we share to some degree or another; regardless if they were positive or negative, hopefully you are able to see the growth and healing that has since transpired. Tomorrow will mark three months to the day  my mom underwent open heart surgery and after minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week of attention, care and rest, she was back out at her clubs  (yes plural, and yes, as in nightclubs/dancing) this past weekend.

It’s truly amazing what time can do when you give it a chance to work its magic. But in this action-oriented -left -brained- results- demanding- pill -for-everything-instant-information-fast-food society we now find ourselves, time gets a bad rap.  Faster is perceived to always be better and action trumps rest in the eyes of others.  With almost everything available to us on demand and bottles of 5 hour energy at our disposal, we’ve grown impatient beyond reasonable expectations.

“Patience is a virtue” and “Time heals all wounds” are two of my favorite adages, because they express the type of ‘muscles’ I’ve exercised and ‘tools’ I’ve developed – you guessed it – over time – as they become realities when you see the proof in the pudding. In my coaching and speaking work, I am constantly trying to get folks to understand that despite the fact that we are living in a 24/7 instant access technological wonderland, that in fact Nature does not work that way – the acorn does not become an oak tree overnight!

Clients are often frustrated with me when I advise them not to do anything that they consider as ‘doing’ or will have a direct and immediate impact on their job search or life’s path. What I suggest doesn’t mean they should sit around twiddling their thumbs, it’s about understanding that there is a process; it’s inner work through activities that don’t seem ‘productive’ or results-producing, when in fact they are the true heavy lifting of personal growth.  We all have wounds that need to be healed, and not addressing them or allowing them the time and space to do so is often what blocks us from moving forward, therefore, that is where time and energy needs to be spent!

I am always planting seeds when I work with clients, giving them ideas and suggestions they may not necessarily be ready to implement immediately, but something they should think about, pay attention to and consider down the road. I also guide them towards the many stepping stones they need to take on the path to their ultimate goal, whether they are aware of that goal or not.

The philosopher Kierkegaard said, “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.”   I have had the pleasure to find out recently how many of my clients are beginning to reap what they have sown, with projects, jobs and opportunities that are only now coming to fruition, one, two and even four years after we met, which is extremely rewarding and only reinforces the ‘method to my madness’.

The paradox and balancing trick of course is that time doesn’t stop; it can pass us by quickly so we need to be in motion with it and ‘make hay while the sun shines.’  But on the other hand we need to accept and be comfortable with what is realistic in terms of how long things take to change and develop. Just like we are all students in this school called Life, we are all patients in the healing of our lives which is part of what growing means – healing the wounds of our past so we can move forward ever more healthy and strong.

Need a little help on your journey from acorn to oak tree, or from wounded to well?  Give me a buzz and I’ll take a look to see how you can use the gift of time to speed things up or slow them down, keeping in mind, that might just be the opposite of what you think…

P.S. For related thoughts on this topic check out my posts A More Perfect Union, One Day at a Time, Tangible Schmangible

P.P.S. Have you seen the article yet on Forbes.com:What I Learned Working with a Career Coach? Please share with your peeps and tell them to join my mailing list. 

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