“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a positive attitude while waiting”
Lesson #3 – Perfecting the Art of Wearing Patience Pants
This year I set a professional goal of obtaining my first nationally recognized procurement certification. I wanted to take the test in May, but due to the demands of the musical production I mentioned in a previous post, I concluded it was best that I did not.
Sub-lesson one: The art of balance and being realistic.
I was a bit bummed that I would have to wait all the way until October, but I am convinced if I would have attempted to take the test and perform in the musical, I was going to lose in one or the other area. Being able to take that decision from past experiences was a great move for me. In August I applied to sit for the exam. I was accepted and began the studying process. Was I excited about studying? Yes and no. Yes because I knew it was going to get me closer to obtaining the certification. No because I had not been required to study for a test in the last 5 years.
Sub-lesson two: Do what is required even if it is uncomfortable.
After approximately 3 months of studying at least 8 hours per week, October came and I took the 3.5 hour long test. Finally the hard part was over. Or so I thought. See, with my type A personality, waiting is not my best strong suit. I probably consider being patient as one of my areas of improvement. The hardest part of the entire 3 month experience was waiting 6-8 weeks to receive my test results. Yes, that is right, it took approximately 6-8 weeks before I was able to know the outcome of my test.
Sub-lesson three: Patience is an art form exists to test our ability to be faithful and trusting of the process.
So, for 6-8 weeks I worked on the art of wearing patience pants. Being patient must be apart of your natural abilities. The saying good things come to those who wait is true. I waited and waited. I, at some point before the 6th week, figured out a way not to even think about the results. When the 6th week came however, I made a point to visit my mailbox every single day (sometimes twice a day) to see if my results had been delivered. The significance in that is that I usually check my mailbox about every 3 weeks (sad but true). The end of the 7th week had come. The only day I did not check my mailbox in the 6th or 7th week was on a Saturday because it was raining cats and dogs and I did not feel up to bearing the weather. I simply said, “I’ll wait until tomorrow to check the box.” And so I did. Sunday morning came and as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror preparing for church I thought to myself, “The results are going to be in the mailbox today.” As I was leaving out I casually went to the mailbox and there sat a lonely white envelope. I pulled it out, read the return address and became screaming and hollering. I opened the envelope in less than 3.9 seconds and lo and behold I read: Congratulations! I stopped right there and began screaming even louder and louder in excitement. I was officially a Certified Professional Public Buyer.
Was I patient in the waiting process? Yes. Could I have been more patient? Absolutely. Rome was not built in a day. However, as stated before, patience is an art. I was proud of myself for staying positive while I waited. I was glad that I was able to be realistic in what I was able to take on when I did. I was glad that I could purposefully put myself in an uncomfortable situation and come out comfortable at the end. I did not doubt my reward. I had a level of faith knowing that I would receive the ‘congratulations‘. I just needed to see it on paper. I will have to continue working on it. But the process itself taught me so much on what reward feels like after being patient. The build up and the outcome together made me appreciate the entire 5 month process mean that much more to me. In life greatness may be delayed, but will happen all the same. The key is to patiently and productively wait for it, all while keeping a positive attitude. I have made a promise to myself that I will learn to be more patience and appreciate delayed gratification more. I want to be able to look back and know that I wear patience very well.
As you move into 2017, know that your rewards will come with the requirement of patience, but the key is that the rewards will come!