A little bit of patience goes a long way to a calm atmosphere

Columnist Kristen Asleson says we need to get away from the idea of instant gratification.

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The lack of patience people have with and toward one another continues to grow at an alarming rate. In the past two weeks, I have personally observed this multiple times. For instance, last week I needed to make a trip to the doctor’s office to undergo an ultrasound to diagnose a newly found “bump.” With two cars slowing climbing the parking ramp ahead of me, I knew I was going to be a few minutes late. While my mind was in the fog of knowing what could lay ahead for me, I was not paying attention to the cars in front too closely.

However, one stopped to let a parked car back out in order to have the spot. In a matter of 30 seconds, the car directly ahead of me starting laying on the horn.

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Why? Do we ever stop and wonder what someone else may be going through or experiencing prior to losing our cool and making what could be a less-than-stellar day get even worse? The pedestrians walking by raised their eyebrows, and not at the car patiently waiting to have the vacant spot.

When it comes to the workplace, one example came to mind almost immediately: expecting an immediate response to a sent email. Within minutes, the sender is wondering, “Did they receive it? Did they read it? Are they going to respond soon?” In fact, some people quickly send out a follow-up email asking if the recipients received the first email. Should the recipient send out a timely response, even if it is only a simple acknowledgment of receipt, yes they should. But, people, let go of this need for immediate responses and answers.

Having patience at work requires getting a grip on your own emotions and expectations of others. Last week’s column talked about mental health, and patience fits in that category as well. If managers are losing patience on their staff members, it is adding extra stress and anxiety to not only their workers, but themselves. Those who are impatient are actually creating unsettling feelings within.


Forbes shares five powerful ways leaders can practice patience in the workplace, and the very first one is so poignant. That is, “See through the lens of others.” Just like in the parking ramp, look beyond your own needs and don’t be so quick to judge or to share your opinion. “As a leader, you must be objective enough to step back and remove yourself from personal opinions and begin to see the situation at hand through the other person’s lens.”

Having a positive attitude is key when practicing patience. It is easy to lose your cool or blow your stack, which is synonymous with impatience, when allowing yourself to be grumpy or in a mood. Force yourself, if necessary, to take a deep breath and let go of whatever it is that is making you act impatiently. Do not hurry; I promise you, wherever or whatever it is you are in a hurry to get to will still be there. Just like an empty parking space.

For those in customer service, it is difficult to not lose your patience when you hear the same question or comment over and over, isn’t it? Remember, the person who asked or made the comment does not know the answer, and they cannot help that others have asked before them.

If you haven’t heard, “patience is a virtue,” from your grandmother at some in time in your life, you are hearing it here. Consider practicing this virtue; it’s beneficial to everyone.

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to .

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