At work we are reminded daily of the annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly results and expectations. That’s the way business works. The more granular and specific the targets and expectations, the better chance we have of meeting the goals as established. I once worked for someone who said, “We inspect what we expect and we expect what we inspect”. Makes sense to me. However, with all of these targets and measurements we can become impatient in our expectations of others and end up driving the wrong reactions. When we are impatient everyone knows it. They know that we are asking for something that is not practical or possible, and we are just doing it for the sake of being impatient and trying to drive the ball down the field. When we get impatient though, we can make mistakes in our judgement and worse yet, we can end up treating other people badly in the process. Placing on others impatiently created expectations only leads to a loss of credibility and respect from the other person. But, we tend to be impatient, all the time, and it becomes a habit. So, how do we break the pattern? How do we find the balance between knowing what is reasonable and patient and what is not? First we must understand that we are called to be patient. Paul asks us to clothe ourselves with patience in Colossians 3:12: “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” If we start from a place of knowing that this is an expectation and part of our calling and purpose then we can take patience on with a higher level of intentionality. Becoming patient is a great challenge to ask someone at work to help you with. Find that person who you trust and always tells it to you the way it is regardless of how you will feel afterwards. Ask her/him to point out when you are being impatient with others and yourself. Tell them to be sure to not hold back and to be bluntly and timely honest with you. Listen carefully and start to make the changes necessary to being a more patient person. At work, patience with others can many times be the difference between gaining commitment versus just compliance. There is a reason it is considered a virtue.
Patience wraps up the last of five things that Paul tells us to clothe ourselves with. As we go to work and we put on our work clothes we are to ensure that we have tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. If we wear those to work everyday, how could we not be making the best impression and setting the best of examples? And, we can be assured that this a work outfit that never wears out.
Reference: Colossians 3:12 (New Living Testament)