Lessons in Patience…

I’m just back from a fabulous holiday on Australia’s Gold Coast; stayed in a gorgeous resort hotel, hit the theme parks, took the other half to the All Blacks game in Brisbane and caught up with very dear friends; all complimented with clear blue skies and a 27 degree average temperature – sounds idyllic right?!

And mostly it was. However, combining a 4am wake up, three hour flight, three hour time difference and not being able to check in until 2pm, when we arrived at 9am and lack of a pram meant the first was a tad trying for Miss Four. This in turn meant it was a tad trying for the other half who’s usually very patient, and by 6:30pm that night even I was feeling a tad frazzled. The day was greatly improved by a trip to Kmart and the purchase of a cheap pram to save Miss Four’s legs from walking everywhere and my arms from carrying her when she refused. At this point I should mention that she’s a red-head and has every bit of the stubborn temperament inherited along with this from her Scottish ancestry. To be fair post a huge sleep the first night, for all of us, she was a dream from that point on (again very thankful for the pram though), with only a couple of other standoffs over having to leave the pool.

But that first day was an exercise in patience. In remembering she’s only four and being mindful of that fact in how much we were doing, when and where from that point on ensured we all had a fantastic holiday, one that we all got the most out of.

It was interesting though to watch other families at our resort in the same or very similar situations. Some, like us were very clearly tired on day one and came right after that. Others never changed the whole time and I wondered whether they or their children enjoyed the holiday at all – or even why they bothered if they were going to be that uptight the whole time. I wondered what they were teaching their children in their attitudes towards them, the way they spoke to them, the language used and the flow on effects of how it made their children feel.

As usual this all led to me thinking back to work. In a more reflective way than anything else and how I treat people and if I exercise as much patience there as I do with Miss Four. I wondered too if we all knew how much our leaders, co-workers, employees had going on in their lives if we would extend them more patience? If we all considered and were mindful of the fact that none of us know exactly what another is dealing with behind the scenes that we might be more patient in our dealings with them and less quick to react or write them off, or at the very least be more courteous? In my reflection I noted that I often see people behaving badly in the workplace with or without good reason – but the fact of the matter is we’re all adults and there is no excuse for bad behaviour whether given or received. Be more patient. Be more mindful. Be more courteous.

And in case you’re wondering – I asked someone in my team who I can trust to be very honest with me, and who has given me very frank feedback in the past, how patient I am and how I treat others at work. Her reply? That she can’t believe how patient and courteous I am in the face of some of the situations I deal with. She says I do everything in the kindest and most genuine way. Except, when dealing with one person who shall remain nameless! Apparently 99% of the time I’m good but every now and then with this person a hint of annoyance comes into my voice, but the real giveaway is when I hang up the phone and say “F*#k” under my voice. I’m pleased to hear I’ve largely got it under control – but clearly there’s still work to be done. There should always be something to work on!

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