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Why you need to master the art of being patient

Why you need to master the art of being patient

Patience is something that has never come easily to me. When I want something, I want it now! Or at least, pretty quickly. And yet, when we’re trying to achieve our dreams and goals, the one thing we need to have is patience because in most cases, it’s going to take some time and effort to achieve those goals. It’s a journey we have to make and there are simply no shortcuts! There’s going to twists and turns in the road, we’re going to go off track sometimes, we might hit a dead end and have to backtrack or we might be completely rerouted.

It’s funny how we can learn life lessons from our every day experiences, if we look for them. The other day I was putting together a pretty basic footstool from IKEA which comes flat packed to be assembled (as most things from IKEA do!). “This’ll take ten minutes.” I thought. Ha! And I’m usually pretty good at putting things together. Well, I struggled more than I expected with this darn stool! After screwing in a few screws, I realised one of the sides of the footstool was actually facing the wrong way which meant I couldn’t progress with the next piece because nothing was aligned. Arggh! So I had to unscrew all the screws on that side and basically do some major backtracking to make sure the side of the footstool was facing the right way and then retrace my steps again with the screws. I paid more attention to the instructions now instead of assuming a footstool is really easy to assemble and I can probably do it without instructions! I succeeded in the end 😊… and also learned some priceless lessons in the process.

Be in it for the long game

Firstly, I learned not to underestimate how long it would take to achieve a goal and I tend to have a bad habit of doing this and then end up getting frustrated when things don’t happen quickly enough! Underestimating how long a goal will take to achieve is just setting yourself up for failure from the word go, not to mention frustration. You’ve got to be in it for the long game, whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. If it’s worth achieving then it’s worth doing properly, even if it does take a bit longer than planned!

Things rarely go as planned

Secondly, as with our own personal journeys to getting to where we want to be, there will always be obstacles and challenges to overcome, there will always be some mistakes made and some backtracking to be done. Just as assembling my IKEA footstool took longer than planned and turned out to be a little more complicated than I expected, we also need to cut ourselves some slack when things don’t go as we meticulously planned. Ask any successful person about their journey to getting where they are and they’ll tell you they hit many unexpected roadblocks along the way!

There’s a season for sowing and a season for reaping

Whenever I feel impatience rising within me, I remember wise words by Jim Rohn:

“There’s a season for sowing and a season for reaping, but you can’t do both in the same season.”

After diligently ‘sowing your seeds’ by putting in a lot of effort towards your goals, its all too easy to then expect your harvest straight away. “I’ve been working so hard! Where’s the fruit of my labour?” But what we’re expecting is to sow and harvest in the same season. We forget that as with al nature, there are seasons. We can’t sow AND reap straight away in spring. Neither does autumn/fall follow spring, there’s another season, summer, in between. A season of patiently nurturing those seeds you planted and watching them grow and flourish. What ends up happening is, you plant your seeds, see nothing happening and then give up in despair and go sow more seeds elsewhere. Shiny Object Syndrome, anyone?! Then you end up sowing all these seeds in all these different places and without you being there, patiently nurturing those seeds to help them flourish, those seeds wither away and die. Meanwhile, you’ve worked yourself to the bone planting seeds all over the place and getting absolutely no harvest!

This is where patience comes in.

When you physically plant a seed, you don’t see any activity for some time. But something is happening. That seed is germinating and getting ready to start growing. You just can’t see it. But if you stick with it patiently, you’ll soon see signs of growth – a little stalk peeping above the soil, then a leaf, then two. It’s no different when we work on our dreams and goals. We put in lots of work, and then instead of getting discouraged, we stay the course. We keep going. We nurture what we planted. We start building momentum. And as momentum builds, we start seeing results, maybe teeny tiny results to begin with but again – you don’t see an enormous oak tree spring from the soil, do you?! No, it starts off as a tiny little seedling and then keeps growing over time.

The strange thing is, we know this is true when it comes to assembling IKEA furniture and growing plants in our gardens and yet we expect this not to apply to us! When things don’t happen overnight, we get discouraged and feel like giving up. When one tiny stalk begins to show its head, we think “is that all, after all that effort I put in!?” and we abandon the little stalk that was about to start growing into an eventual oak tree.

Look at the bigger picture

Looking at the bigger picture allows you to step back and see not just where you are at that moment in time in isolation, but where you are along your entire journey towards achieving your goals. Whenever I do this, I realise I am actually a lot further along in my overall journey than I think. It hasn’t been wasted effort, things are happening (just like the seed germinating underground), sometimes you just don’t see it. Just keep going and know that every little step you take is taking you another step closer to your goals.

Pause and reflect

Spending time on meditation and reflection is a great way to pause and reflect on things and master the art of being patient. This allows you to tune into your bigger vision and see yourself taking each little step towards accomplishing that vision. It also helps you to realise and accept that things might not always go the way you expect them to or the way you planned but that’s ok, it’s all part of your journey. Journalling is another great way to regularly reflect on your journey and explore any feelings of impatience. If you haven’t already come across my Born to Flourish planner-journal which is personal growth focused and full of prompts to help you set intentions and reflect on and review your progress, you can find out more about it here.

Here’s a great quote by Benjamin Franklin, I’ll leave you with:

“He that can have patience can have what he will.”

Have patience friend, and you can make anything happen!

3 ways to be more authentic

3 ways to be more authentic

Going to the Venice Carnival has always been on my bucket list so when I got the opportunity to visit last year, I was thrilled (so thrilled that I returned this year too!)!   The Venice Carnival was every bit as magical as I imagined, maybe even more. And of course, a big part of the Carnival is the dressing up and wearing of masks, a tradition that dates back centuries.  And as I admired all the elaborate costumes and masks all around me, I couldn’t help but wonder ‘who is beneath the mask?’  Who is the real person behind all the outward pomp and flair?  At best, all you could see was a glimpse of eyes beneath the masks.

And while the Venice Carnival was magical and fun and lasts only a couple of weeks, it made me wonder about the ‘invisible’ masks we often wear as people, sometimes throughout our lives.  Masks that depict who we feel we should be instead of who we truly, authentically are.  And with constant reminders from social and mainstream media of who we ‘should’ be, the pressure is on to keep those masks in place.

But being someone you’re not is exhausting and you’ll know this if this is something you’ve experienced in your own life.  The quote ‘why blend in when you were born to stand out’ holds true!  But standing out from the crowd and being authentically you can be scary, it’s so much easier to conform and fit in, to be accepted. We humans crave acceptance after all, even if it costs us our true selves.

I remember starting my first job in London many years ago. After a few weeks into my corporate job I started to notice that I seemed to be the only person dressing in bright colours.  In fact, I wore a bright purple outfit to my interview, ha! This was ‘me’ back then.  But of course, as time went on, I started thinking hmm maybe I should wear black and navy blue like everyone else?  I’m sticking out like a sore thumb!  I don’t want people to think I’m looking for attention!  And the last thing I wanted to do was draw attention to myself!  So, over the next few months, my wardrobe slowly morphed from bright and colourful to muted colours that would help me blend into the background of everyone else in the office. It wasn’t me but I felt I fitted in more and this was more ‘acceptable’ in a corporate environment. And that’s just one small example of how we can slowly lose our authenticity.  All the small acts of inauthenticity soon add up.

So in a world where we often feel pressurised to conform, how can we be more authentic? Here are three ways you can start making the journey towards being more authentic today. And I say journey because sometimes we stop and realise that we are so far off track from being our true authentic self that it’s going to take a lot of backtracking and self-discovery to become more authentic.

1 |  Observe yourself and learn

I find observing myself to be a great way to learn, grow and improve in all areas of my life. At the end of every day, ask yourself ‘was I my true, authentic self today?’  Think of any instances you weren’t and ask yourself why?  What could you have done differently?  What will you do differently if a similar situation comes up?  Maybe you agreed with something someone said because you didn’t want to offend them or give an opposing, but honest, viewpoint.  Perhaps you can note down that next time, you will speak your truth and not be afraid of having a different point of view.  It’s all about building that self-awareness, learning from it and making small improvements every day.  Journalling is a great way to explore your thoughts, feelings and actions along your journey to being more authentic. I created and use my own hybrid planner-journal to keep me focused on the things that matter, both internal and external.

Find out more about my planner-journal here!

2 |  Trust your intuition

We all have that inner guidance system within us, that small, still voice.  Learn to listen to it and to trust it!  Nowadays, we are so consumed with looking for answers externally – we follow all these people on social media telling us to do this and that, we take a gazillion courses and read a gazillion books and then become more confused than ever.  If we take the time to listen to ourselves, the answers are within us.  Each of us is so unique and different, there simply can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ solution that suits everyone, only YOU know what’s best for you and how to truly live in alignment with your True Authentic Self.  Make time every day to tune into your intuition and listen to what it’s telling you.  Being someone who consumed SO much external information myself, I have learned the huge importance of instead turning within to discover my Authentic Self and live in alignment with it every day.

3 |  Live life with purpose

When you live life with purpose, it’s a lot easier to know what aligns with your True Self and what doesn’t.  I used to be someone who said yes to a lot of things to please people but did not align with who I truly was.  I would just go with the flow and wonder why I felt frustrated a lot of the time but this was because I was not doing things that aligned with who I truly was.  When I took the time to ask myself what my purpose was, what I wanted to achieve in the grander scheme of things, what I wanted to do with my life (rather than what I should do or what others expected of me), I was able to identify the things I was doing and the time I was wasting on things that were out of alignment with the real me. 

If you’d like a free worksheet to help you discover your purpose, read my How to Discover Your Purpose blog post and download the free worksheet 😊

Our ethos is that each and every one of us was born to flourish and be all that we were destined to be!  Being the real, authentic you will put you well on the way to doing that!

 

 

Why being consistent will help you flourish

Why being consistent will help you flourish

Have you ever made popcorn, whether in a pot on the stove / cooker or in a microwave?  What happens if you keep taking the popcorn off the stovetop or keep stopping the microwave while the popcorn is popping?  Well, you probably won’t get any popcorn.  You’ve stopped the momentum of it popping.

And it’s the same with us.  We start something, build up momentum and then just as the ‘popcorn’ starts popping so to speak, we stop and either turn our attention to something else, repeat the same process or else stop doing anything at all because we get impatient or distracted.

If you use my Born to Flourish planner-journal, you will see that I am big on BEING – being the person you need to be in order to flourish and get to where you want to go, achieve the things you want to achieve.  And I believe that being consistent is a major characteristic you need to have if you want to achieve your goals.

How do Olympians eventually win the gold?  By consistently practicing their sport, every day, for hours on end.

I am always trying to be a better person today than I was yesterday and every month I focus on at least one (sometimes more) key characteristic I need to improve in.  And consistency has been one of them.  Especially when it came to building my dream business, I was far from consistent.  And just like the popcorn analogy, I would knuckle down, work like crazy for days and then end up in an exhausted heap.  Or get distracted by other things, like my day job, home and the other gazillion things that come our way!  By the time I picked up where I left off, it took me ages to get back into the swing of things, I had lost my flow and my motivation.  It felt like I was starting all over again.

So I changed my strategy.  I would always have other things to content with in life and that wasn’t going to change.  I had to learn to work around those things.  I realised that I needed to be consistent to keep things moving in the right direction.  I decided that instead of waiting for days I could work for hours on end, I would do something every day, even if it was only 15 minutes.  That kept the momentum going and kept me in the flow of things.  It also meant I started to use my time more wisely to find that time every day – instead of spending half an hour scrolling aimlessly through social media I could Get Something Done!  And taking a little step every day in the right direction was like keeping the popcorn firmly on the stovetop / cooker or microwave to allow the popcorn seeds to pop and do their thing!

The tortoise and the hare

Ever come across the story of the tortoise and the hare?  I remember reading the story back in primary school.  The tortoise and the hare decided to have a race, the hare shot off and left the tortoise way behind.  Because the hare was so confident it would win, and was also a little tired from running so fast, it decided to take a quick snooze (and clearly didn’t send it’s alarm 😊), and of course, the tortoise kept plodding along, passed the snoozing hare and won the race!  And I couldn’t help thinking I was that hare – working myself to the bone and then ending up in an exhausted heap.  It made much more sense to be the tortoise – to just keep taking step after step and not needing to collapse in a heap and lose my momentum!

How about you?  Are you consistent in your life, in the things that matter?  If you’re not, what difference would it make to your life if you were?  What difference would it make if you went to the gym for just thirty minutes every day to do some weight training or cardio on your way home from work?  What difference would it make if you swapped your daily lunch time social media trawl for learning a new skill?  What difference would it make if you woke up just 15 minutes earlier each day instead of waking up an hour earlier only once or twice a month?

As I always say, we look for complex answers to our problems when the answers are almost always very simple.  If you look at the people you admire and would like to achieve what they have achieved, change your focus from what they have, to who they are.  What characteristics do you think they have?  I’m sure there are many and that’s why this blog post is part of the ‘Being’ series of blog posts.  I truly believe that if we work on our internal ways of being more than we try to look for external solutions to our problems, we will make huge strides in the direction of our dreams and truly flourish!

And so I try to be consistent with other things in my life too.  Being healthy is always something I try hard to do but often try to make big changes and then fall down a day or two in.  So, I’ll choose one relatively small or easy thing to be consistent with, like drinking a large glass of water with a splash of lemon in it when I wake up.  And I am now 99% consistent with this because it’s easy to do and it’s now become a habit.

So, choose something you can be consistent with in your life and see what a difference it makes!  Start small.  And the great thing is that once that becomes embedded in your daily routine, you can move onto something else and build on that.

The Compound Effect

The great thing about being consistent is that, eventually, the compound effect kicks in.  You can start getting exponential returns from the little steps you’ve been taking every day, just as you would get exponential returns if you invested a little money each month many years later.

Of course, it works both ways!  If you’re consistently eating donuts for breakfast each day or spending all (or more than) you earn each month, then the compound effect will eventually kick in too – in the form of poor health and bankruptcy!  So, think about the things you’re consistent with in your life and what the compound effect of this is likely to be in a few years’ time.  And more importantly, what you can do to change things for the better and make consistency work in your favour!

Stay consistent with the Born to Flourish® planner-journal

 I created the Born to Flourish® planner-journal because I was struggling to stay consistent with all the things I needed to do to make my goals happen.  Today, I used my planner-journal every day and couldn’t live without it.  It has a strong element of personal development woven into the more obvious practical aspects and this keeps me laser focused on my goals, my why and what I need to do every day to get there!  Like to find out more about my planner-journal?  

Check out the Born to Flourish® planner-journal here – it’s available in digital format to use on your iPad/ tablet or as a PDF download to print out and complete or simply complete onscreen.

If you have trouble staying consistent then the Born to Flourish® planner-journal will keep you on the straight and narrow 🙂