My father-in-law has three speeds: slow, slower, and slowest.
Over the 13+ years that I’ve known him, our interactions have forced me to really practice being patient. And let me be clear, I suck at being patient. I’d argue that many of us are not great at being patient.
Patience is a skill. And, like most skills, it’s one you can practice and learn and get better at.
Launching and growing a new business takes patience.
Parenting takes patience.
Smoking ribs on your Weber grill takes patience.
Doing anything with my father-in-law takes patience.
Patience can be really tough … especially in the “instant gratification” world we live in today. We want things now. Faster. Right this instant. We are, by nature, an inpatient society. Two-day shipping from Amazon? Too slow! Now we demand same day delivery (See: Google Express and Amazon Fresh). If a website doesn’t load fast enough, we are gone. If our dinner doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion, we complain.
However, I’d argue that faster isn’t always better.
My buddy Jay Baer agrees that “the best things require you to take it slow.”
We are thinking faster and acting faster. So much of today’s content marketing, traditional media (TV/radio), blog posts, and other content online is all about being first. We want to be the one to tell the story first – to break the news first.
As a die-hard University of Michigan fan (and alum – class of ’98!), I read just about every single article penned about Coach Jim Harbaugh. In the weeks leading up to his press conference where he was introduced as the 20th head football coach at Michigan, there were hundreds of sources saying that he definitely was not signing with Michigan and hundreds of other saying that he had already agreed to a contract! (Thankfully, he chose to come home). Fast forward to today, and there are stories breaking about which coordinator is definitely coming to Ann Arbor … and just as many refuting the same breaking story.
I understand the need to be first. Trust me. I 100% get it. I like to be first too. It’s the competitor in me. However, there is something to be said about being a little bit patient, slowing down a bit, being a bit more deliberate… and getting it right.
For as much as it can drive me batty working on a project (or even a small task!) with my father-in-law knowing his only has three speeds (slow, slower, and slower), I can finally appreciate — now that it’s been 13+ years — that while I’m hoping he goes faster, he is busy thinking through all of the options in his head. He is deliberate. (He is slow). He is waiting to provide an answer that is likely the “best” solution … ultimately saving time in the long run (measure twice, cut once).
When I am truly patient with my father-in-law, I actually feel a sense of calm come over me. When I force myself … and I mean really really force myself … to take deep breaths, to count backwards from 10 (or sometimes 20), to wait … I feel more at peace.
I’m also working on patience as a parent. I have a tendency to want my kids to do things now, immediately. But the reality is this: They are young (2.5 and almost 5). They are learning. They are trying. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes they just don’t want to do what I want them to do. However, we all know that getting frustrated is not the answer. Instead, I’d argue the answer is to be just a little bit more patient.
I am working on being more patient with my father-in-law and my children. I’m hopeful that content creators and the media will work on being more patient and more deliberate with the stories and the articles and the “breaking news” that they’re sharing. I realize that in many instances it’s critical to be first, but I’d still rather be right and accurate then first and totally wrong.
As we dive headfirst into 2015 I would encourage you and both your personal and professional lives to be more patient.
Are you with me? I’ll be right there by your side practicing patience too.