Are you waiting around and hoping the next best thing will just be handed to you, or are you actively challenging yourself to press on with a clear goal in mind?
Although a fan of Fane’s writing, I detest the saying, “Good things come to those who wait”. I don’t dislike the words themselves, but what I realized after I hit adulthood is that this phrase was used in vain my entire childhood, and it likely was for you too! Maybe it took me a bit late in life to figure out, but it was not until I caught myself repeating it to my children, that I realized it had less to do with them and more to do with me, and what I wanted! Just like I heard as a kid, I’d echo these words to my children to simply get them to stop the behavior I didn’t want to see continue.
Look, you’ll never hear me say that patience is not a good virtue to have, as I certainly believe it has its place in proper context, however, I struggle in using such phrases with children or adults when it has the potential to significantly slow down their thought process and momentum towards success.
Parents and early educators throughout my life used this phrase from the best I can tell to get what they wanted without really accomplishing what I needed the most, which was facilitating a need for growth through positive encouragement and a healthy challenge of what I wanted. Hind sight is truly 20/20 as I reflect back to see the priming that occurred in my early childhood, long before I could make decisions of my own. Let me explain.
The example of asking for something in the store, being told to wait, anticipating that “Santa” would bring it to me at Christmas because I was patiently waiting for months on end may be a tad extreme, but what if it’s not? What if Santa put me on the “naughty list” or simply forgot? Now, I’m the child left at Christmas anxiously waiting for the one thing I begged for and was told, “Good things come to those who wait”. That anxiousness only left me with a shattered heart full of disappointment when the last gift is opened and I realize what “waiting” gave me in return. Maybe I wasn’t good enough? Maybe I didn’t deserve it after all? Maybe I don’t deserve good things? Maybe the answer simply was that my parents didn’t have the money, but as a young kid, I think we can all attest there is a gap in understanding that money just doesn’t grow on trees!
I recall a moment being left on the sidelines for nearly 85 minutes out of a 90-minute soccer game while being the only female on an all-boys soccer team during my senior year of high school. Unfortunately, back then, girls had not been so heavily recognized as soccer players, and the interest wasn’t there to warrant forming a girls’ team. Although I remember hustling just as much as any of the guys, drove a couple of blocks, and was full steam ahead, I was benched after roughly serving as a five-minute substitution at the start of the game, which was long enough for one of my teammates to come out and stop a bleed. Were my feelings hurt? Of course, they were, but I also remember when my coach turned to me and said, “Be patient, if you wait, good things will happen”, I had a glimmer of hope, my spirit was uplifted, and I just held on until my next three-minute stint arrived. Until it didn’t.
I had many moments that knocked the wind out of my sails, but I forced myself to keep going. Although I struggled when I often heard that nagging voice in my ear saying, be patient”, in many ways, despite it being opposite of what I had been taught, knew I had to keep going. To what end, I had not yet figured out, thus for years, I felt like my life was a game of tug-o-war. I had moments where I knew what the right choice for me was, however, I would tell myself, “not yet, if only I am patient, good and better things will come”.
Over time, I began to get complacent and started “settling” on only what I (and others) could see in front of me. Maybe this sounds silly, but as a small-town country girl, I honestly didn’t understand the vastness of what the world had to offer.
When I found myself in abusive relationships, dead-end jobs, and even extremely toxic workplaces, I’d tell myself to simply hang in there, that time will make it better. Good things come to those who wait, right? WRONG! These words could not be farther from the truth, as my commitment and dedication to the wrong things became quite a fault, and in many ways crippled my thinking which started negatively altering my belief system.
Let’s face it, there are things in life you have very little control or influence over and just have to wait for, such as; gridlock traffic on I95 to clear, your professor to post final exam grades, timing of bonus payouts, and your first child to be born! Okay sure, weird examples, but true! When it finally hit me, and I realized I could actually control the timing of most outcomes by simply accelerating through a lack of “patience” with swift decisions, my life got exponentially better!
You see, it did not matter if I decided something and failed, the point was that I got to fail both fast, and forward! The decision to no longer “wait it out” afforded me an opportunity that in some ways was taken away from me in my youth, but in other ways became self-inflicted as an adult given the years stuck in the belief that if only I was patient, good things would follow.
As I said previously, patience certainly has its place, so please don’t discount the need for it, under the right circumstances. What are those? Well, the good news, which I learned a bit later in life than I would have preferred is, YOU get to decide! I cannot tell you what this would be for your individual circumstance, but can certainly offer up what I do, so here goes…
- Remind myself that I am in charge of waiting or going!
- Assess my current circumstance (What is it, why is it occurring, who is it affecting, am I okay with it, and can I quickly control it?)
- The only thing I spend a lot of time on here, is on the “who” it is affecting. This not only helps me determine how quickly I may need to take action if chosen to do so, but also forces me to consider implications of my actions and the impacts they may have, if I fail or succeed.
- Determine my current risk level (Is there harm to my reputation, integrity, moral beliefs, health etc. and will the outcome of a decision I make impact the lives (personally or professionally) of others I care about?)
- There is no science to this, in my head after addressing each of the questions, determine a ranking of High, Medium, or Low.
- Determine and communicate my action plan with my “inner circle”.
- This can be one or many people, and often time is limited strictly to my husband who is my biggest supporter, but other times I find it prudent to simply inform others in my trust circle. It is important to note that I do not share with these individuals in an effort to sway my mind, but for mere accountability and confidence building.
- You want to have people in your “inner circle” who will be supportive of your decisions. They may not agree 100% and that is okay, but there needs to be an understanding that you’re the only one that knows what is right for YOU!
- I pray – I am a spiritual person; therefore I absolutely lean into my faith so that my actions are guided with a proper mindset.
- I GO!
Okay, so many people will read this and go, “You always refer to my and I, what about everyone else”? Don’t be confused like I was, thinking everyone else got a say so in my choices, and that some magical consensus needed to be reached. I used to spend so much of my life waiting in “patience” for people and things to occur that quite honestly, I wasted valuable moments in my life (personally and professionally) that can never be regained.
Do I have regrets? Of course I do! I’ve had many failures in life; however my only regrets are from those times I chose to wait, rather than decide to GO, accept the outcomes, and try again with a greater breadth of knowledge than held previously.
Look, when I was a child, I wasn’t given the opportunity to communicate openly the way I have learned to as an adult, and maybe you weren’t either, but please don’t let that same fear that held me back, keep you from progressing your life forward!
If you enjoyed this read, I’d appreciate a like and a share, but I would also love to hear from you! What is a hard choice that you have had to make to overcome a challenge in your life, or to simply help yourself achieve goals? It is through the sharing of experience that we as individuals can grow ourselves and I would be excited to hear your story!
Confidence doesn’t always come naturally, and often times we need support to gain and build upon it. If you are looking for support in your growth journey because something is holding you back, I encourage you to check out my background at www.nancymouellette.com and connect to see how I may be able to help!
Credit where it’s due!
Finding new structures. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.stonemaster.pl/en/news/
GETTY IMAGES. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/970×450/getty_470546996_2000133420009280274_355930.jpg