This week, Good Reads Wednesday is about patience. Patience as it relates to being a good human, leader, and parent. Difficult times can test your patience. How well you assess and act upon a situation can depend on how patient you are with the people and information you receive. I am not a Rhodes scholar or Mensa member. However, I do have thirty years of corporate management experience and nearly twenty years of being a parent. What I would like to share, especially with the current COVID-19 situation, how patience is a valuable trait to have.
Patience at Home:
Indeed, we have all heard the phrase, “Patience is a virtue.” Patience can determine your success or failure as a spouse or parent. Your ability to listen to another’s opinion (particularly a spouse or child) without reaction or defense will grant you a better understanding of the other people in your life. You need the ability to hear out your partner’s point of view during a discussion. You cannot lose your cool (if you are a parent or babysitting) if a child’s innocent question of “why?” seemingly persists forever.
This past week, I found myself becoming increasingly impatient with my family and inanimate objects. Everyone is working out of their home office. Most families are in close quarters with one another, and as time goes on, everyone’s patience will continue to wear thin.
In your home, do what I do to repel the stress of everyone working in close quarters: help out. Do tasks that you do not typically do to take some pressure off another family member. Do not compare how much you are doing or someone is not doing; do it. You are living in a closed space, and anything you can do to reduce the stress of another will make your environment more tolerable.
Patience at Work:
As most of us are adjusting to working from home, patience will rule the day. As you are adapting to working remotely, so are your peers and managers. They are learning how not communicate in person, having to deal with the lag-time email and not having the daily interactions of others.
A friend of mine told me the most significant challenges they were facing was trying to understand people through texts and email. Sarcasm does not translate in a text message, and many can be offended. The clarity of a person’s message can be cloudy if they do not explicitly describe what they need in a typed correspondence. Now is the time to never assume what you think someone is saying. Ask them. Get clarity directly from them by calling or scheduling a video conference.
If you find yourself with nothing to do, having a zero inbox, and possibly waiting on others, help someone else. It does not have to be an elaborate task; it could be proofreading a report, double-checking some data, or chasing down an inconsistency for a colleague.
Patience with the CoronaVirus:
Like with most things, this too will pass. But like a pot of water, watching it will not make it boil any faster. Keep yourself busy, adhere to a schedule, help others often, and time will pass quickly. Get up each morning and set a goal for yourself. Set out to accomplish something you have been putting off. If you are out of work or not in a class, it does not matter: clean a closet out, straighten out the garage, or donate clothes you no longer wear.
When you have to be out in public, keep your distance from others. When you have to interact, be polite, and give others the benefit of the doubt. If I have learned anything in my life, it is that there is one inevitable fact: There is always someone worse off than you are, and until you walk a mile in another’s shoes, you know the rest.
This very trying time will test our patience many times. With our co-workers and with our house-mates. How you handle yourself now will translate into how things will be when COVID-19 dissipates, and everything goes back to “normal.” Being more patient than you ever have been at home will provide stability now and in the future. Showing patience with your co-workers will demonstrate your ability to lead and perform well under pressure. Your personal and professional life can flourish during this tragic time if you deploy patience every day in every way with everyone. My advice is simple: Be grateful for what you have, say yes more, smile more, help others as best you can, and when tempted to lash out, keep your mouth shut.