Updated: Oct 18, 2021
Written By: Dana Skelton
Patience- The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. “Patience is not simply the ability to wait- It’s how we behave while we’re waiting”- Joyce Meyer
Patience- Perseverance in the face of delay
Why did I pick the word Patience?
Patience is a not a virtue we acknowledge or talk about often enough. Especially in a world that thrives on getting results immediately, waiting can feel uncomfortable. You hear all the time (and see the videos) about the crazy stories, when people are impatient. Rarely do people recognize the patience they had to have through the years or the patience that their coach had that lead to their moment of success.
The next reason I picked patience was because of the pivotal role it plays in being a coach, parent, and athlete. Anyone that has tried to teach a young swimmer how to turn their toe out in Breaststroke will understand. Or a parent that lived through online learning last year. Or an athlete that has had to rehab and come back from an injury.
Every success can be attributed to patience in some way or another. As if being more successful wasn’t reason enough to work on patience, there are other huge benefits.
Patient people are more likely to have better mental health. Patience helps us learn to work smarter, more efficient, and with a healthier mental mindset. All of these help us manage our stress and stressful situations. Practicing patience is enough to help you feel more in control of your life!
Patient people are able to develop stronger relationships. Have you ever had a friend that you spent all night comforting from a break up? Or coached an athlete through the up and downs, leading to their first big qualifying cut? People that have the ability to remain patient are seen as more kind, warm, forgiving, and cooperative. Patience requires a trust in others and the things around us.
Patience helps keep us on track towards our goals. When things don’t come easily or don’t work out as you had planned, patience helps us not give up. When patience is part of the journey, you are more likely to experience greater satisfaction when the goal is achieved.
Additional bonuses for teaching this skill to our athletes…. patience can improve their self-control, emotional regulation, and help them learn delayed gratification.
How to Improve your Patience:
Reframe the situation.
Instead of being annoyed that you are stuck in traffic, get excited that you get to finish the audio book that you have been listening to.
When you feel frustrated because your computer decided to re-boot when you were finishing a project, use this time to take a deep breath and recognize you needed a break to get up and stretch after sitting at your desk all day.
Post or save a quote to remind yourself. You might find it helpful to have different quotes for different roles you play in life, for example, one for coaching and one for when you are driving home in traffic. Or there may be just one quote that resonates with you. A few examples:
“Have patience. All things are difficult, before they become easy.”- Saadi
“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have for instance”- Franklin Jones
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish”- John Quincy Adams
“Patience is when you’re suppose to be mad, but you choose to understand”
Practice Gratitude. If we are thankful for what we have today, right now, we’re not desperate for more stuff or better circumstances immediately.
Stay in tune with your emotions and moods. Start a journal that you can write down when you get triggered and what emotions you felt in the moment. This is a way to notice trends, then spend time reflecting on why certain situations, people, or moods trigger you. It is important to distinguish that what is happening is not an outside stressor, but rather how we are reacting to it. Ask if your expectations of a situation are in line with reality.
Stop doing things that aren’t important or learn to delegate. This helps us reduce our stress and frees up time in our day.
Practice empathy. So many times, we feel impatient when we fail to see the situation from outside our own perspective. There is a great video with Stephen Covey, talking about paradigm shifts, with a father and his young kids on a subway. The kids are running around yelling and the passengers are getting annoyed. The father later tells someone, “Sorry, we are coming back from the hospital where their mother just died and I guess they don’t know how to handle it. I guess I don’t know how to handle it either.” How can you reframe a situation through empathetic eyes?
Stop resisting. When life throws you a curve ball, the unplanned inconvenience, can be enough to change your mood. The rest of your day becomes overwhelming. Compared to when life throws you a curve ball and you keep calm and continue with your day. You develop a work around and respond to the situation, rather than react to it. Just because you choose to accept the situation does not mean you like it or wanted it. It means you know it is out of your control and that you are in control of how you react to it.
Dana is in her 14th season with the First Colony Swim Team. She is the lead coach for Age Group 1, where she gets the privilege to work with the 9- & 10-year-olds. She is also the Head Developmental Coach, working with the awesome coaches in the novice groups. She is an ASCA Level 3 certified coach. Dana started her coaching career with the East Bay Bat Rays in California. This introduction to USA Swimming kick-started her love of coaching, working with young swimmers, and learning what it means to be a great coach. Her coaching philosophy includes doing what is best for each child, parent, and coach in the sport. Focusing on what we can do as a collective whole to promote the sport, help everyone become better people, and have the children see the benefits of working hard. She uses an IM based training (with lots of kick) to ensure the young athletes have a solid base to keep developing through the sport. Dana has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, East Bay. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 daughters. Hobbies include being active, being crafty/creative, exploring the great state of Texas, and seeking out education to continue improving herself (on and off the deck).
FCST rep for Gulf Masters
Texas All Star Camp coaching staff
Southern Zone Select Camp coaching staff
Meet Task Force for Gulf Swimming TPC
Committee Chair for the Texas Select Camp
USA Swimming Age Group Committee Member
Committee Chair for Gulf Club Development Committee