Life Lately: Cultivating Patience in Life & Career

by | Dec 26, 2023 | life, life lately | 0 comments

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”  ~ Joyce Meyer

The last few months has had me coming to terms with what it means to have patience. I became a mother in October and it has tested me in so many ways and learning that my time is no longer my own has been the most challenging. I thrive on being productive and crossing things off my to-do list, feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day from completing all of my tasks. Needless to say, having a baby has thrown that all out the window. James runs my schedule now and I’m lucky if I can even accomplish one or two things on my to-do list now.

Before my son, James, was born, I told myself that things in my life were drastically going to change – one of those being how I spent my time. No longer would I have unlimited time and control over that time. No longer would I be able to be defined by my productivity. I knew my priorities were going to shift with my primary focus being on my son. Learning patience through that and as I navigated parenthood inevitably would become a reality. Yet, I still have those brief moments where I beat myself up for not doing “enough” in a day.

The dictionary definition of patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been a little upset at the end of some days where my biggest accomplishment for the day outside of taking care of James was taking a shower or going for a walk. My to-do list continues to grow especially as the holidays approach and I can sometimes feel my anxiety creeping in, tapping me on my shoulder.

However, when that happens, instead of letting that anxiety overwhelm me, I choose presence. I remember the time I have now with my son is time I’ll never get back. Time is passing by and he’s growing so fast. I’m keeping the perspective to have patience and enjoy this slow period in my life rather than letting it pass with disappointment that I didn’t get things I wanted done.

Similarly, when it comes to our careers, patience is often something we need to remember to embody. Things like building quality career relationships, searching for a new job, waiting to hear back about a potential job offer, or seeking a promotion often takes time and much of it can be out of our control. It can be frustrating to play the waiting game and wonder when things will happen or get done. But by choosing to stay present, we can learn to endure and tolerate the discomfort and embrace patience while we are waiting. Here’s how:

  • Set realistic expectations – When we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, we’re more likely to become impatient. Being realistic with ourselves and setting achievable goals and not setting the bar too high for ourselves can help with this. For me, this has meant coming to terms that I’m only going to get that one or two things on my to-do list checked off in a day, not all ten. From a career perspective, this could mean coming to terms that getting that promotion or landing that new job will take longer than planned.
  • Take breaks – When we’re feeling frustrated, it can be helpful to take a break and find something else to do. This can help us clear our minds and come back to the task with a fresh perspective. I’ve realized that for my own mental health, sometimes I need to prioritize going for that walk instead of doing something around the house that I’ve been meaning to do all week. If you are job searching for example, taking a break from constant job applying can often be just what you need to get more clarity into what you really want to do and what you’re ideally looking for.
  • Practice gratitude – Focusing on what we’re grateful for can help us maintain a positive attitude, even when things aren’t going our way. Finding gratitude in the time I get for maternity leave and with James has allowed me to remember what’s most important in my life. When it comes to our careers, it could be having gratitude for the job we have amidst layoffs in the job market or for making that connection with an individual who opens a door of opportunity for you.
  • Learn to let go – When things are out of our control, it’s best to let them go instead of ruminating in it. Learning to accept what we can’t change can help us stay present and patient on what we can actually control. I no longer have full control over my time as a mom of a newborn, but I know this time will pass. Similarly, when we encounter something out of our control in our careers, we can choose to focus on how best to take advantage of the time as it stands versus letting it consume us.

As we approach the end of the year, having patience is more important than ever. There are career deadlines, social commitments, and endless to-do’s that are piling onto our plates. Let this be your reminder that patience is rooted in the present. If you find yourself becoming impatient or frustrated at any point, bring your mind back to the present moment, the home of patience.

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Welcome to Lipstick & Ink®, your home for everything career and wellness inspired. I’m Kelly, a Chicago-based career coach, writer, speaker, and events host.

Whether we’re working together on your career aspirations, refreshing your professional documents, or keeping your mental health in check, I encourage you to own your power and make your mark.




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