During the last year-and-a-half, you may have noticed patience is not one of my virtues. It’s why I started this blog without any planning, why I jumped into school and how I racked up roughly $12,000 in credit card debt. (That was before marriage and my pledge to share Mr. Man’s additional copious debt. Hence why we enrolled in a debt management program [DMP] to help us achieve our goal of becoming debt-free.)
Lacking patience isn’t all bad. I’m action-oriented. I get things done. I’m not afraid to start something. And it keeps me excited and intrigued for the next big adventure.
However, I realize I could benefit from having more patience. But how does someone with no patience develop more patience? It’s not as if it’s a muscle that can be strengthened or a mantra that will work if repeated. It’s more of an innate tendency – some of us have more than others, right?
That’s what I thought until the other day when I was lamenting to a friend about how Mr. Man and I had only been on the debt management program (DMP) for six months and yet it had already felt like a year. Sure, we were making progress, but – and this is if all goes according to plan – we still have about three and a half years of this torture before we reach our financial goal! I so did not have the patience for this!
Because she was the person who recommended the program to me, I often gave her updates about our status. Previously when I had complained, she reminded me that we were indeed making progress and to just “be patient” and “stick with it.”
This time, though, she had different advice.
“Screw patience,” she said. “It’s time for you find a new word. Do you have the endurance to see this program through to the end?”
And there was my little “a ha” moment. My friend had pulled the simple trick of reframing! She took a negative concept to me (patience) and renamed it with a positive spin (endurance) so that I could get a better mental grip on it.
She knew me well enough to know that as an impatient yet tenacious person, all she had to do was turn it into a challenge to reignite my vigor. And it totally worked – I immediately responded with something like, “Well, of course I have the endurance, I mean I know I’ll get through it, I just wanted to whine about it in the meantime!”
Again, notice that if you interchange endurance for patience in that last sentence, suddenly, I have all the patience in the world!
If you, too, are tired of banging your head against the patience wall while you hunt for a new job or fight with the scale over your weight, it’s time to ditch patience. Replace it with a call to action:
Do you have the endurance to see your goal through to the end?