THE BLOG

It's Not the Oven's Fault (A Lesson in Patience)

02/06/2015 10:52 am ET | Updated Apr 08, 2015
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I could say it was my oven's fault, but if I were to be totally honest, I have played a role. Perhaps even a major role. You see, I seem to have started a new tradition of ruining any meal which will be served to guests, starting with Thanksgiving this year. Thank goodness that was only my immediate family! The turkey was undercooked (not pleasant), the rolls burned, the dressing mushy. Then there was Christmas. Honestly, I can't even recall what that disaster was, except that the guests included my future daughter-in-law, who thankfully, eats like a bird anyway. This trend has continued for months now. I got an oven thermometer and discovered that different parts of my oven have significantly different ideas as to what a 350 degree setting really means. But, as I said, that is only part of the issue.

The other, and perhaps more significant issue, is that I have lost my ability to be patient. I KNEW that even though the turkey had "popped," it couldn't possibly be ready yet. So, instead of trusting my gut, I relied on a piece of plastic and rushed the rest of the meal, with something bordering on disastrous results. The Christmas dinner, while not "popper induced," involved my not wanting to allow extra time for cooking in my temperamental oven. Crispy lasagna was the result. I could bore you with countless other examples.

I could continue on, blaming the oven and getting more and more frustrated, or I could take a minute and look at my part in it. And in doing so, I noticed this pattern of lack of patience. It actually wasn't hard to spot -- it is showing up all over the place in my life! In particular, there are things I want to happen NOW in my business and as hard as I try, it just ain't happening. It has been one of the most frustrating and, lest I be over dramatic, depressing times in my business life. I have the skills, I have the willingness, I have the gratitude for what is, but I WANT. IT. NOW. Evidently, the universe has other plans.

Last night, I was at an event and shared my frustration with a friend. "In God's time..." was all she said as she gently grasped my arm and gazed into my eyes. Can I tell you how reassuring that was? I believed her. And trust me... I probably have uttered those words to myself a hundred times. I just didn't believe them until I saw it in the eyes of another. Sometimes you need that mirror to help you see through the darkness.

Time takes time. Oh, how I wish, just for a moment, that I could peek at the cosmic timetable and know just how long I have to tread water! And then I think, "and what difference would that make?" What would I do differently? If I knew that in two months my ship would come in, would I sit around and watch TV until then? I doubt it. But whatever I did I would do with a joyous expectation of what was to come. Like a kid just before Christmas, who knows that in a few days there will presents to open, I would be counting down the days with giddy anticipation.

So why not pretend? It is my choice to feel anxious and depressed, holding onto the "woe is me" attitude, or choose instead to think that there is something else exciting coming. Why not? What have I got to lose?

Patience may be a virtue, but it is not an easy one. But like anything else, it is my choice on whether to choose that path or not. Acceptance and managing expectations both play roles in this equation. And like with my oven, as long as I set those expectations correctly, maintain a bit of flexibility and exercise patience, things will undoubtedly turn out just right. Even if it takes a bit longer than I would like.