“Patience is the ability to count down BEFORE you blast off.”
There’s a scene that is repeated over and over again in my life. It happens at the gym – I have a barbell in front of me, it is loaded with a significant amount of weight, it is near the end of my workout, I am tired, mentally and physically, and all I want to do is go home and have a shower. But I have to lift the barbell up. One. More. Time.
“Patience” says The Coach, in a way that is as much a gentle reminder as it is a threat (of what, I’m not sure, although there’s always the possibility of death by burpees, I suppose).
You see, in weightlifting, if you are patient in lifting the bar off the ground, when you hold out for that perfect moment to really initiate the lift, it will feel almost as though the barbell is lifting itself. Not to get sappy, but the feeling you get when the timing of a lift is just right . . . well, it’s almost magical.
I’ve been working with The Coach for almost 5 years now, and he’s still reminding me to be patient . . . what that says about me as a student, I’m not going to delve into . . . but I do like his little reminder, because it’s as meaningful outside the gym as it is in the gym.
As I sit now at my kitchen table, I have my list of goals for the month of January beside me. I’ve been reviewing what worked well over the past month, what didn’t work so well, and thinking about what I’d like to try and tackle this month, which is how I got to thinking about patience. (I’ve also just returned from the gym so the words of The Coach are still fresh in my mind).
Some of the goals I’ve set for myself this year are going to take the whole year to achieve them. It’s going to take time, and effort, and the process is going to seem mind-numbingly slow at times. Let’s face it, it can be really, really hard to wait patiently to achieve your goals.
We all want to be able to achieve our goals, to live our best life, to look our best . . . and we all want it NOW!
But then, if we didn’t slog through the hard stuff, the work of of achieving our goals, would meeting our goals have the same exhilarating feeling?
And that’s when I realized all the slow, steady work I’ve been doing over the last five years to heal, to get back to being “me” (the version of “me” that didn’t worry about doctor’s appointments and test results and tumours growing), to improve my physical fitness, has got me to a point where my goals can be “fun” (even if they are going to take a while to achieve). Or, put differently, the past five years have been my own personal countdown, so that now I can blast off into my best life.
As you embark on your February, I hope you are able to set some good goals for yourself this month, and that you can find it in yourself to be patient while you go about achieving them. Because amazing things really do happen when you have patience, my friend, patience.