Your well-being at work requires the persistence of a postage stamp. To persist means to stick to a course of action in spite of obstacles and setbacks. Persistence is a skill you can develop with patient practice. Just because you are persistent in one thing, it does not automatically mean that you are will be persistent in all things. Persistence depends on commitment. You persist in things that are important to you, that motivate you.
Persistence and Well-being
When you select an aspect of your well-being to work on, identify why it is important to you. What is motivating you to work on this particular issue at this time? Write it down and read it regularly to help you stay focused and motivated. Then, develop a plan for how you will implement your well-being task. We’ll talk more about planning in future posts.
Persistence is about taking things “one day at a time,” doing a little each day and regular practice is the key to success. A young man was walking along the street in New York City, carrying a violin case. He stopped a passing woman and asked, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The woman replied, “Practice, practice, practice.” Okay, it is an old joke; and like many old jokes, it happens to be true. That is why we remember them. Plan to practice your well-being task daily.
Be prepared for setbacks. Be flexible and be prepared to change and adapt. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” As you practice your well-being task, be aware of how it is going and be prepared to make changes as necessary. Remember, you may be your own worst enemy. The tendency to “just react” instead of choosing your response may be especially strong when you first start on your well-being journey. Be kind to yourself by celebrating your successes and learning from your setbacks.
Be patient. Impatience is not about the slow, chatty person ahead of you in the grocery store checkout line. It is about how you feel about the situation. Notice that once again, patience is a matter of choice while impatience is a reaction. Impatience is a form of anger, and it can be just as damaging to you as it is to the people around you. People can tell you are inpatient, and it affects your health and well-being. Your blood pressure goes up. You don’t take the time to think things through when you are inpatient and react badly. And, if you are like me, you tend to speak without thinking or “shoot from the lip” when impatient, which had negative consequences. Being patient is not just about counting to 10, although it can help.
Remember that change take times and practice. Notice when you are impatient. What triggers your impatience at work? How does your body feel when you are impatient? Are you clenching your jaw or maybe your hands? Remember, impatience occurs when you are not getting your way or when other’s behavior does not correspond to your expectations.
Practicing patience is about is about treating yourself with kindness and compassion and the benefits are well worth the effort. “However, let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).
Identify one thing about your work situation that makes you impatient. What can you do to deal with that situation in a way that supports your well-being? Identify the steps you will take and set up a schedule for practicing them.