Check out these sobering statistics provided by J.T. O’Donnell in a recent blog at careerealism.com. He was commenting on the State of Our Union:

• 23-year all time job satisfaction low according to Harvard Business School.
• 84% of Americans plan to look for new jobs in 2011 per Business News Daily.
• 9%+ unemployment rate with it not expected to drop more than a point this year according to the Wall Street Journal.
• 7 ½ months and climbing is the average length of unemployment as stated by the U.S. Department of Labor.
• 13M+ Americans out of work according to latest U.S. Labor Statistics.

The corresponding stress percentages are at an all time high and escalating. Whether personal or professional, ALL of it funnels into the workplace as we haul our personal anxiety loads to work in steamer trunks. It can’t be helped. Every human being in America is punching the RESET button as home and workplace share space in the pressure cooker.

My last blog, Behind Closed Doors, dealt with workplace issues that ultimately wind their way into HR offices. I expounded on the rubs that occur between co-workers who disagree and/or have differing agendas in the workplace. One agenda they do share however, is that RESET button. We didn’t get into this situation overnight. We’re not going to recover from it any quicker.

Which brings to mind a critical trait that can feed or kill the beast of workplace stress and conflict: the age old virtue of PATIENCE. The Encarta Dictionary defines it as the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties. Consider this definition: allowing someone to be imperfect.

“When we stubbornly focus on the error or weakness of someone else, we ignore what it will take to solve the problem at hand. Patience gives us the freedom to let go of our need to be right all the time. It allows us the peace of putting relationships before the selfish desires that rob us of joy,” (Gary Chapman). Ahhh…I LIKE that. I like this even better:”Patience …. is concentrated strength,” (Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton).

Everyone wishes for patience secretly believing that those AROUND them need it more. Few people take the trouble to cultivate it in themselves. The workplace and the highways are starving for heavy doses. Patience is infectious. Patient people are easier to live and work with. They make our days more hopeful, less stressful. Bottom line, they cross the finish line sooner and are more successful (and beloved) than their impatient, irritable counterparts. Ever hear the phrase, “Slow and steady wins the race?”

Patience requires self-discipline and delayed gratification. It focuses on what’s important (the SOLUTION) instead of whining about the problem. These are all essential traits of emotional intelligence and maturity. “Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears,” (Barbara Johnson).

What’s more important, keeping your schedule or nurturing a relationship? Your calendar of events and breakneck schedule can be revised or cancelled. What about that relationship? There’s no shortcut for that. Patient people place PEOPLE before accomplishments in what they say and do. Isn’t business all about relationships anyway?

“Patience is not a little matter; it is a huge character trait that may well be the difference between leaving a positive legacy and leaving a negative one,” (Chapman). We’re all in this together. The generations behind us are watching how we handle the present and their future. As you’re banging on that RESET button in a push to rush success, remember that patience is a virtue for a reason.

~From the desk of Becky Morlok~

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