Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.
— Barbara Johnson
A story is told of two frogs that fell into a tub of cream. One looked at the high sides of the tub which were too difficult to crawl over and said, “It is hopeless.” So he resigned himself to death, relaxed, and sank to the bottom. The other one was determined to keep swimming as long as he could. “Something might happen,” he said. He kept kicking and churning, and finally, he found himself on a solid platform of butter and jumped to safety.
Like the two frogs, there are times as leaders when we find ourselves stuck and looking for a way out without sinking.
In part one of this series, Getting Unstuck, I wrote about the need to be present in those times of being stuck. It goes against the grain in terms of what we want to do because we want to get unstuck as quickly as possible to move on to the next thing. But sometimes we need to embrace the moment and use it wisely to see why we are stuck and what we can learn from it going forward.
Right now in your leadership, you may feel you are stuck. In this fog, you feel like you’ve lost your edge and creative juices. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but you know something doesn’t feel right. If you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about. So let’s explore the second principle for getting unstuck and see what we can learn and apply that will help.
Be patient - This won’t last forever
If by chance you are wired like I am, patience is not one of your finer qualities. I wish it were not true, but it is. I hate sitting in traffic, I hate waiting in line — especially for ice cream. I hate meetings that crawl along and are going nowhere — all the while sitting there thinking of all the things I could be doing. I’m not alone, am I?
That all being said, there’s one thing I’ve learned after several decades in leadership: Being stuck is not permanent. Be patient. This won’t last forever.
When we are stuck, we tend to magnify the situation and feel like we will never find our way out of our funk. It’s why being present in the moment that I wrote about in part one is so important. We want to get unstuck as quickly as we can and get moving. But being present in our stuck moments can be a valuable time of growth and that takes patience.
When we are present in the moment and exercise patience, we eventually begin to see not only what’s at work around us, but more importantly, what’s going on within us. First and foremost, leadership is an inside job. And when we are stuck, we must take the time for self-reflection.
What’s got you stuck today? Is it a lack of clarity that you need or an attitude that’s gone awry? Have you cut yourself off from people you need to listen to and those who can hold you accountable? It can be any number of factors, but know this — it’s in your patience and being in the moment that will eventually move you forward.
Being stuck is no fun. What’s worse is squandering the moment and not learning from it. Allow yourself to be present at the moment and be patient. You will come through this if you keep your heart and attitude right.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To read part one, go online to thedanielislandnews.com/business.
©2021 Doug Dickerson
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