Patience In The Midst Of Storms
Author E'yen A. Gardner has written, "Patience is produced in the midst of storms; it blossoms under the intense pressures of the storms." If true, what determines those who thrive and those who squander these teachable moments?
Think carefully about your most recent "storm." Ours? A Mother's Day surprise that abruptly forced my youngest daughter to deal with the loss of a college student's most-valued belongings - computer, iPad, backpack and wallet containing all forms of identification, cash and credit cards. This storm immediately jolted all of us into "awakeness" (as in "I'm here, pay attention to me NOW") and drove my wife and daughter to the phones to cancel credit cards, review bogus charges and work with police. I tell this story for two reasons: first, to acknowledge my daughter and wife for how they handled themselves throughout this storm; and second, to share an observation about their patience in handling it.
Despite the frustrations of the moment, neither allowed their emotions to be hijacked. While frustrated and angry, they patiently handled those things in their control and didn't waste effort, or worry, or tears over those thing outside their control. Cliché I know, but the saying goes that while we can't control the direction of the wind, we can adjust the sails.
Patience is a learned choice that helps us adjust the sails when the waves are crashing over the boat. It's the ultimate act of wisdom, and is available to us all. While being action-focused is a great attribute of many leaders, so is knowing when to lean in and when to lean back.