Life can be difficult in that it doesn’t always move at the speed that we think it should. Waiting can be extremely hard to do, especially when you feel like you have been waiting too long for a new job, your first house, to find your spouse and other important milestones in life. Often this anxiety develops because you have not learned how to enjoy the moment you are living in now. Today I am going to give you three tips to help you develop patience and enjoy your now moments.
Step 1: Make a List of the Things You are Grateful For Each Day
This list is not meant to be made simply by sitting and thinking about what you enjoy overall about your life. A list made from this perspective tends to be superficial and lack any inherent meaning. This is meant to be a meaningful exercise in which you take notice each day of the events you are grateful for. Use a journal to record your grateful moments until it is like second nature to recognize your grateful moments.
Tip: Examples of well-noted grateful moments include an identifiable reason for gratefulness. For example, instead of recording, “I am thankful I found a parking spot today”, add to the narrative about what the situation was and how finding the parking spot made you feel. “I am thankful I found a parking spot today because I was running late and the spot I found was across the street from the location I needed to be. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief that something finally started going right for me today, I could have parked and needed to walk another three blocks to my destination.”
Step 2: Review the Lesson in Your Gratefulness
The “what if” factor is a necessary part of our thought process, however “what if” moments get a bad rep because the timing in which people have “what if” moments is not correct. Rather than ask “what if” beforehand, your “what if” moment should be considered after the situation ends whether good or bad. When you factor in your “what if” moment after the fact, it becomes pretty clear why worrying does not benefit you. For example, going back to the parking spot scenario, you are stressed because you are running late. What if the parking spot had not opened and you ended up parking three blocks away from your destination.
For those of you that think we are about to go into a complaint session, quite the opposite is about to happen. We are about to do a problem-solving exercise. What are some things that you can proactively do if you are running late to an important meeting and you can’t find a parking spot? Rather than walking into the building 20 minutes late, you can call and explain your situation, “I cannot find a suitable parking spot near the building, do you have any suggestions for a parking garage or another location where parking might be available to me to avoid any further delay?” With this gesture not only have you taken the situation into your hands, you also sent out a signal that you value other people’s time. You have therefore created a strategy to deal with “what ifs” with confidence.
Tip: In order to create great “what if” strategies, you must record situations in which you are stressed, have limited options, or find yourself stuck in a bind. Often it is tempting to be happy the situation is over so you can stop thinking about it while having uncomfortable feelings. This is actually a great place to be, you can put yourself at ease by rehashing the situation and creating actionable plans for what you will do next time you find yourself in that situation.
By doing this, you don’t immediately have a memory of how things didn’t work out, but you are calmer and feel more prepared if you have an important meeting but cannot find a parking spot. As you get more comfortable with problem-solving you start to think of awesome solutions such as, “Hey, you know there is a great new coffee shop near the only place I saw parking three blocks away, you should come down and we will have our meeting there, I will drop you back off after”.
Step 3: Become Confident in Your Problem-Solving Skills
When you are waiting impatiently for something to happen it can be hard to sit still. Maybe you need that parking spot for a meeting that could change your entire life. Rather than putting all of our energy into becoming upset, use your problem-solving skills with confidence. Think of creative ways to make your meeting happen. Something as simple as starting your meeting on the phone as you walk up to the building can be a great icebreaker for your meeting.
You have gone from possibly meeting someone in person for the first time, to getting to know them as you walk up the street. Perhaps this is a time in which you can ask questions and give your conversation a great direction beforehand. Bottom line, instead of bottling all of that anxious energy up so that you eventually erupt like a volcano, release it with well-thought out strategy, release it into hope and high expectations for your meeting, channel it into excitement about what is about to transpire. Talk yourself through your next move. Focus on keeping a clear mind that is solution focused. Acknowledge that you are anxious, and then focus on calming down.
Tips: Acknowledging your feelings and problem-solving with confidence can be as simple as taking five minutes to meditate. Breathe in deeply and focus on breathing out your anxiety. Visualize what you want the end result of your situation to be, and then talk yourself through the actions you need to take. Recount previous times that you have been able to problem solve and draw your confidence from those situations. “I have done this before, I can do it again. This situation may seem difficult, but that last time I was in a bind like this I did x, y, and z.” Lastly, being able to accept that everything will not happen exactly the way you envisioned it to be is huge. This opens you up to be accepting of other options and ultimately will boost your confidence in other options.
Please note these are copyrighted excerpts from Kia McClain’s e-book, The Two-Hour Entrepreneur. This e-book will be released here on the site. You do not have permission to use any of this content outside of sharing the entire blog post. The exercises described in this blog post are found in the book along with worksheets and guidance to help you complete each task. Fill out the form below to be added to the pre-order list.