The number one, secret superpower you need through your 20s and 30s.
So you’ve set out in the big wide world, maybe you’ve just left college or uni and are stepping into your first taste of the big, bad working world and you want it all, now. Or maybe you’ve been in the rat race for a lil’ while, you’re chugging along, albeit a bit aimlessly, and you're unsure what you've done wrong because you're nowhere near having it all.
Whichever one is you, I empathise with you wholeheartedly. These are supposedly the ‘best years of your life’, but feck me, it sure doesn’t feel like that most days, right? I know you’re obsessing about finding out all the answers right away. I know you’re crazy-eager to bag yourself the ‘dream career’ that fulfils your passion, your purpose. And I know each day you’re not doing those things, you feel like you’re wasting precious time, and maybe even failing at life too.
Well yes, of course time is precious, but no, you're certainly not failing. And here's why.
Y’see, the main purpose of this time of your life, is to meander, to mess up, to experience; to build a palate for things in life that light you up, and build a memory bank of things that don’t. Your measure of success shouldn’t be pitted against what you’ve done in the last few months, or even years. The timescale you typically have to play with here is waaaay longer than that. Plus, your measure of success is actually totally subjective anyway, so any pressures you're holding yourself to is only you making life hard for yourself.
The good news is, when it is all on you like that, it's also 100% in your power to change it 💪🏻 Yasss! And this is where mastering your secret 20/30-something superpower comes into play:
Maybe that wasn't the superpower you wanted to hear, maybe you'd have preferred sex guru or dabbing-extraordinaire. But truly, do not underestimate the power of this life skill – she will serve you well 100% of the time. Without fail. And that's some promise, right?
So how do you master patience?
As with most stuff I write about, it all boils down to honing your mindset; pivoting your viewpoint, taking control of your life and taking responsibility for yourself. It might sound like a fat lot of effort, and I guess it does take commitment on your part, but when your life completely transforms as a result, what does a bit of graft matter? Besides, nothing worth having comes easy.
Remind yourself who your impatience is affecting.
Maybe your impatience manifests itself as tension in your shoulders, a raised heart rate, clenched fists, a sinking feeling in your gut of despair – and many many more I'm sure. You feel provoked, annoyed, angry, frustrated. Generally pretty crappy sensations all 'round. So notice these signs. Recognise these horrible sensations you're putting yourself through and when you feel them simmering, check in and remind yourself – I'm doing this to myself. No-one else is.
Understand what ticks you off.
When you start to feel all those sensations I mentioned above, what are your triggers? Are they certain people, certain situations, certain technology even? [I've worked crazy hard on honing my patience skills in all the mega life phases, but still have the most ridiculously short fuse for knotted cables, like it's INSANE 😂)].
Once you've sussed your trigger(s), now try and understand the root of them. Why does this always rile your patience? Like really? [I guess knotted cables is my kryptonite because it takes me out of the driving seat for a moment – something super-simple that should be fixable instantly, just isn't. And that precious time I wanted to keep hold of, is taken away from me. Pathetic, I know!] 😁
But now you have a deeper understanding of how you're made up, work on creating a bank of tactics to use when you notice a trigger rearing its head. Things like deep-breathing or shaking your body out are super-useful. But honestly, these can be whatever you like. [When I can feel myself turning to the dark side over some tangled hair straightener cable, a pause, a few deep breaths, followed by a considered calm approach to detangling gets it sorted waaaay quicker]. Job done 👍🏻
Work more on liking yourself more.
A lot of impatience boils down to a lack of self confidence – doubting yourself, feeling totally out of control, or let down even. When your confidence is low, you want something to happen now and it's not, your instinct is to want to fight it and try and force it. But on the flip-side, when you’re content with your insides, who you are and where you're at, you have an innate ability to accept situations as they are and work with them to improve them, instead of feeling the need to fight them.
Try out the sh*t-to-sunshine game.
Let's face it, we all get handed 💩 in life, but genuinely it’s what we do with the 💩 that counts. So you wanna play? Basically, the way this game works is that we're gonna take a supposed sh*tty situation, and flip it into a sunshiney sitch instead. Let's say we've legged it for our one-train-an-hour, and we miss it. Feck. Raging. But! ☝🏻 NOW we've been gifted an extra hour to chill and read waiting for the next one. What a fab lil' freebie today gifted you! Or let's say, you had your heart set on this dream job, but you just found out 'there was another candidate better suited, thanks but no thanks'. Ugh. Wounded. But! ☝🏻 NOW they've just so kindly given you some crazy-valuable fuel to your fire, in proving them wrong, honing your skills and experience, and becoming a total rock star at what you do. Thanks non-boss! Or let's say, you pitched for a new client and they went elsewhere instead of appointing your business. Ah man. Gutted. But! ☝🏻 NOW you've been given both the incentive, and the time and energy to invest in improving and growing your business. There. Is. Always. Sunshine. You've just gotta be willing to see it.
Get a plan, Stan.
A nifty way to keep impatience at bay, is to try and stay one step ahead whenever you can. Particularly in terms of your career or life choices – whatever you’re working towards, just allow some room for contingency. Think about the what ifs and/or any problems you might come up against in your pursuit, and just have a loose plan of how you’ll deal with 'em in response. That way, if there is a diversion ahead, you don't have to slip into the annoyed, frustrated, angry zone of impatience sending you off-course, just steer yourself calmly toward your plan B, C or even Z.
Basically, what I'm trying to say with all this, is just take your freaking time. Why are you rushing? Why does it have to be now? Could there even be something to gain from stuff happening a bit later? Breathe it all in, try as much stuff as you can, mess up where you need to, see where you messed up, and then have fun trying to get it right.
You do not need to have it all sorted. Besides, what the hell would you do with your brain/time/energy if you did?! The bumpy, potholed road getting there is surely the best bit.
Until next week,