The Importance of Patience in Personal and Professional Growth

UPDATED: February 14, 2024
PUBLISHED: February 14, 2024
Amy Somerville

There are so many different topics we can talk about when it comes to your personal and professional growth—all topics that are truly inspiring to me. But there’s one in particular that I want to look at closer, a virtue that’s so often overlooked, even though it is crucial for growth and harmony. This virtue especially challenges those of us driver high-D personalities!

That virtue is patience. And much like a plant, which cannot grow from a seedling to a tree overnight, our personal and professional growth also takes time. 

And in our fast-paced, instant gratification world, we want quick, almost immediate, results. This notion is reflected all around us, from Amazon’s lasting impact on the world with its two-day shipping to the lightning pace that social media feeds update with news, photos and information. We want to rush through life, chasing that next big goal or the next milestone.

But growth isn’t a race. And just like a plant, we need time to nurture and develop our skills, to really deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. This is how we’ll really blossom. The importance of patience, especially when we’re investing in our personal and professional growth, can’t be understated. 

What is patience?

Patience might not be something that you’ve thought about much recently. It’s something we were all taught as kids, and it’s a virtue that’s surely popped up at work and in your adult life—whether you’ve had to be patient while working on a big project with others or even just practicing it in the lead up to a fun event you’ve been anticipating. When you think of patience in your daily life, you most likely think of being patient as having to wait for something. 

But patience isn’t just merely about waiting. It’s about maintaining a positive attitude while waiting, and I’ll be the first to admit that is not easy. It’s about embracing the journey and recognizing that each step we take, no matter how small, is bringing us closer to our goals.

Embracing patience, especially as a skill we can learn and cultivate, can really take us far. If we can acknowledge that it’s not just about the outcome, but it is truly the process that shapes us, that teaches us resilience, humility and perseverance; patience can be quite the game-changer.

The importance of patience in your life

It can be easy to write patience off as being not very important in the grand scheme of things. But patience is something that can be applied across your life, from your personal life and relationships to your professional life and career goals. Whether you’re dealing with a challenge at work that will take a period of time to resolve or you’re just waiting in a long line at the store, patience will help you negotiate tough situations, handle stress better and practice good judgment. 

We rarely go a day without some kind of situation that can leave us feeling stressed, wishing that things would go quicker or more smoothly. That is why we have to understand the importance of patience. Maintaining a positive attitude while we’re waiting for a situation to improve or wrap up can help keep us from giving in to negative emotions such as irritation, feeling overwhelmed, and even being harsh or rude to those around us.

While it’s not always easy to practice patience, especially when we’re feeling stressed, it really does give us the space we need to handle personal and professional situations that much better. Patience lets you face people, situations and more with empathy, calmness and the ability to think reasonably.

I encourage you to embrace patience. I know, I know—it’s a lot. But when you feel the rush of urgency, the frustration of slow progress, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are growing, you are evolving. That takes time.

How to cultivate patience 

Just like a plant that is sprouting, you are on a journey of growth. Every stage of that journey, even the waiting, is valuable. And when it comes to the importance of patience on your journey, I want you to embrace the process of cultivating your patience. It’s a skill just like any other, and you can work on developing it over time. In fact, a 2021 study from Selcuk University in Turkey found that “patience training” can lead to positive, effective results.

So, how can you start cultivating your own patience?

Practice being patient with small moments

Patience is a skill, which means you need to practice to get better at it. Start by finding small moments to practice patience throughout your week. The next time you catch yourself growing annoyed at having to wait in line, because a co-worker’s response is slow or you’re stuck in traffic, seize the moment. 

Practice your patience by taking a deep breath and letting go of the frustration.

Take a break

If you find yourself growing impatient, sometimes taking a quick break is the best solution. By stepping back from a situation, you’re providing yourself space to decompress, gather your thoughts and give your brain a breather. Breaks have been proven to be essential for helping to restore motivation and prevent decision fatigue.

Some easy ways to take a break include:

  • Taking a walk
  • Stretching
  • Spending time outside
  • Hanging out with a friend
  • Taking a tech break
  • Meditating

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness plays a big part in cultivating patience. Practicing mindfulness is all about being fully present and aware of where you are and what you’re doing, which naturally ties into strengthening your patience! You can easily incorporate mindfulness into your daily life by using short breathing exercises to center yourself and taking time to check in on yourself and how you’re feeling throughout the day.

Be kind to yourself

When you’re working at developing a skill like patience, you’ll want to treat yourself with kindness. Skills won’t magically grow to perfection overnight, as much as we’d like them to. We can easily become frustrated if our progress isn’t going at the rate we want to see. Feeling irritated or impatient is totally natural, but it’s important to treat yourself with grace as you continue to work at developing your patience.

Take your time and embrace the process of cultivating patience. Remember, the most beautiful flowers don’t bloom overnight. They require patience just like you.

Photo by ©Mike D’Avello

Amy Somerville, CEO of SUCCESS® Enterprises, is a mission-driven leader with demonstrated success in developing highly effective teams, delivering dynamic learning strategies, and building engaged communities. She is a passionate community-builder, gathering like-minded, successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople to share best practices for success. She lives her life intentionally and is driven daily by the acronym L.I.V.E.: LEAD, INSPIRE, VALUE, EMPATHIZE. Follow Amy on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.