On simply showing up
I'm not exactly known for my patience. It doesn't seem to be a gene variation that was passed down in my family.
And when it comes to things where I have a vision for where I want to be, I'm even more impatient. It doesn't matter how much work I'm putting in, things are never moving fast enough.
This has been a tricky mental state for me. Let's just say there aren't a lot of positive emotions and outcomes that come along with such impatience.
Now, you might not be as extremely impatient as me. But I think most of us have felt at least one of these:
You're working toward something and the progress feels like it's not happening so you think to yourself that maybe it's not going to happen or you give up.
You're so impatient to get to the end that you forget to pay attention to what's happening now and miss out. (Let's just say I can tell you how most books end but not much else even though I read every page).
You get unreasonably frustrated at how slow things are moving. Or worse, how slow people are moving. If only they'd get out of your way you could get this thing done!
A lot of stress, missed opportunities, anger, abandoned projects, and frustration have resulted from this little mental state that I create for myself. And these aren't sustainable emotions or results unless I'm trying to live my worst life. Nor are they something that I'm proud of or particularly enjoy.
So I figured out the trick to getting past this. And it's not telling myself to have patience.
The trick is: I just have to show up each day.
That's my only expectation on myself these days as I work toward various goals. Just show up and put in some effort. I don't have to slave away. I don't have to drive myself to exhaustion. I don't have to get testy with other people (sorry people!).
I simply have to show up and do the work.
And in an effort to break myself of the impatience monster I carry with me, I define that work at the very minimum. Not the minimum of what my impatient mind thinks needs to get done on any given day. Nope. That would likely be a week's worth of work because that impatient mind of mine sets ridiculous expectations for what can be accomplished in a day. I mean the very bare minimum of what could even be defined as work.
Tony Robbins has said that most people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year.
When I heard that I thought what was needed to fix this was simply to raise my expectations for what I can accomplish in a year. Ha! Again, nope.
I've found that showing up every day to do the bare minimum has pushed me farther in a month than a year of showing up every day stressing to do what I think it takes to make it.
And I know that sounds too crazy good to be true, but it is. I don't have all of the negative associations with doing the bare minimum. I don't try and procrastinate nearly as much. These are easy tasks to check off and feel that cortisone flow knowing I've accomplished something, which makes me go on to the next thing and show up the next day.
So, if you're struggling to complete something or if you're losing your patience, figure out what the least amount of work is. Put all your expectations and fears and doubts aside for a moment. Tell yourself you're going to give yourself a month of just showing up every day to do the work. See where you're at after a month. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
This is what I tell my design and Core Style clients who are trying to evolve into the vision they've uncovered for themselves. They're excited and maybe a little nervous about whether or not they can get there. And any misstep can feel like failure. So, forget about the vision for a second. Let it guide your decision on what work to do then set it aside. It'll be there for you after a month of you showing up and making progress.