5 Ways Being More Patient Can Help Your Career (With Tips and Techniques)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 28, 2021 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated May 28, 2021

Published December 12, 2019

Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s also a valuable skill that can help you succeed in your career. Being patient can help you set goals, collaborate more effectively with coworkers and overcome career obstacles. In this article, we’ll look at what being patient means, the career benefits of being patient and how to develop patience in your career.

What does it mean to be a patient person?

A patient person can face tedious or uncomfortable situations without losing control of their emotions or giving up in defeat. They understand that these situations will pass and can tolerate the time between waiting and achieving. It may take years to achieve your career goals, and a patient person realizes that being proactive and persistent will help them succeed.

What are the career benefits of being patient?

Patience has endless benefits, from making you a better team player to being more successful in your own career. It’s a valuable skill that pays dividends throughout your career. And the best news of all, the more you practice patience, the easier it becomes.

Here are some ways that becoming more patient overall will benefit your career:

  • Achieving your goals: One of the most important benefits of patience in your career is that it allows you to achieve your goals. Facing and overcoming obstacles builds endurance and confidence. And the satisfaction you receive from achieving each milestone goal helps you to stay motivated in your career.

Related: How To Develop Your Skill Set To Advance Your Career

  • Learning valuable skills/lessons: Patience gives you the endurance necessary to learn difficult skills. Challenging work is rewarding when you have a method of approaching it. Patience can help you maintain the positive mindset necessary for improvement.

  • Helping others reach their goals: Patience is a necessary trait for a mentor, teacher or leader. When you are patient with other people, you allow them room to learn and grow. This results in students, employees and coworkers that are patient with themselves. Their improvements make for a healthy work environment.

  • Encouraging collaboration: Working with a team involves listening to others’ ideas and suggestions and respecting their workflow. Patience will make working with others vastly more enjoyable and fluid. Problem-solving becomes a more efficient process when you work well together.

Related: 20 Side Jobs To Generate Additional Income

How to develop patience in your career

Patience doesn’t mean you never feel frustrated; it means you know how to deal with frustration and make allowances for it. You avoid making decisions based on the anger or frustration you feel. Some people are naturally more patient than others but anyone can develop more patience.

Consider these tips to become more patient:

Recognize your triggers

The first step to developing more patience is to recognize when something is triggering you. When you can clearly point to a problem, a resolution is easier to find. When you experience strong emotions, your body reacts to them. Noticing these reactions can help you identify what's causing you to feel impatient. Family, friends and trusted colleagues may also be able to tell you when they notice signs of impatience.

Here are a few physical signs you may experience when your impatience is triggered:

  • Anxiety or feeling nervous

  • Shortened breath

  • Clenched teeth or fists

  • Muscle tension

  • Rushing through activities

  • Anger and irritability

  • Making rash decisions

The 5 Whys technique

Asking yourself “why” five times may help you get to the root of your irritation. When you recognize that you are becoming frustrated with a situation, take a moment to recover alone. Keep a list of the things that trigger you so that you are more aware of them and can be proactive about the problem.

To use the 5 Whys technique, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the problem: Determine the immediate problem you’re facing. Sometimes it can help to write it down.

  • Example: “I am frustrated with my work.”

  1. Ask your first “why:” Ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Your answer should be based on what is actually happening. There should be concrete things you can identify.

  • Example:I am frustrated with my work because the end-user did not like the design.”

  1. Follow-up with four more “whys:” You may have many reasons why you are feeling angered or anxious. For each of those reasons, ask “why.” At the end of a series of “whys,” you should come to the root cause of your frustration. At that time you can implement a productive solution to the issue.

  • Example: “The end-user did not like the designs and now I’m worried that I will lose the promotion I was expecting to receive.”

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Act calm to feel calm

One way your body responds to anger, anxiety or frustration is with physical tension. The tension you feel can increase these feelings in your body resulting in mounting emotions. To reverse the physical effects of frustration, release the stress in your body.

Try these calming methods when you’re feeling tense:

  • Take deep breaths: When your breath shortens, make a conscious effort to inhale and exhale slowly and deeply for four seconds at a time. This will slow your heart rate and allow you to return to a state of calm.

  • Accept that you are frustrated: When you accept that you are frustrated you can work on managing your frustration.

  • Keep your voice level: A calm voice can calm others during high anxiety moments, de-escalating the problem.

  • Keep your thoughts positive: Positive thinking will help you remain patient and focused on your goal.

  • Separate yourself: If you feel anger increasing, separate yourself from the cause of the frustration and return when you’re feeling calmer.

Evaluate the situation

Determine whether the issue testing your patience is worth the emotion it’s provoking. In other words, you don’t have to sweat the small stuff. Keep your big-picture career goals in mind.

When obstacles do arise, look for possible solutions. Moments of anxiety can be a sign that your project needs more research, time or resources.

When another person is the trigger for your impatience, practice active listening and empathy. Listening to their concerns as they talk and responding appropriately can help relieve tense situations. Listening can also help you to be more empathetic. Remembering your goals and working toward them systematically will help you endure any outside pressure.

Related: Why Is Empathy Important in the Workplace?

Take care of basic needs

It’s hard to focus on our higher goals when our basic needs for safety and survival aren’t being met. Things like getting enough food and sleep are necessary for optimal brain function. When you’re hungry or tired, your judgment is clouded. So if you’re feeling restless or irritable in situations where you normally thrive, ask yourself if you’ve covered your basic needs.

The stress of pursuing long-term goals can keep you from engaging in enjoyable activities outside of work. Stay on track with your goals by getting a hobby and taking time away from work. Outside interests can re-energize your passion to reach your goals.

Develop a positive growth mindset

A growth mindset is one where you believe that your abilities can be improved through consistent work. At times you’ll find the solution to your problem requires a new way of thinking rather than something you can touch and see. A growth mindset results in positive momentum for your career because you recognize that skills, relationships and knowledge can all be improved.

Here are some tips to develop a positive growth mindset:

  • Create a strategic plan and personal vision statement to help you stay focused on your goals.

  • Repeat positive affirmations to encourage your subconscious to generate more positive thoughts.

  • Learn to focus on and reward yourself for hard work, instead of just end results.

  • View all challenges as opportunities to learn.

  • Acknowledge that imperfections are not indications of capabilities.

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