In this exceptional time, people often appeal to us to have PATIENCE. Working with horses and my concept of Connective Clarity has taught me two kinds of patience: ‘patience out of hoping’ and ‘patience out of knowing’. That distinction goes hand in hand with the difference between ‘What do I want?’ and ‘What is needed?’.
Patience out of hoping creates a dependency on external elements and encourages passivity. “I hope I won’t get sick”; “I hope this will be over soon”.
I experienced the counter-productivity of this kind of patience when our giant gelding Monte was first with us. We adopted him when he was four years old. Until then, he had been living in a nature reserve with a few other horses and some cows. Monte was not used to having contact with people, and during those first weeks, he was difficult to approach. At times his behaviour was dangerous; he threatened to kick and bite. In my first attempts to approach him, I tended to be cautious. Out of that caution, I became rather passive and hoped that one day I could approach him.
That did not work. I noticed that Monte became more insecure, and so did I. To establish contact with this insecure giant took clarity, thoroughness and small steps. I stopped trying to approach him; I started to approach him in (literal) small steps – as big as I dared to take. Out of this thoroughness and the small steps, I knew that one day I would be able to approach him. And that day came sooner than I had expected.
What led to this switch? I turned ‘patience out of hoping’ into ‘patience out of knowing’; from thoroughness in the ‘here and now’ which led me towards taking action. That is what I did with my fear of approaching Monte, and that is how I deal with coronavirus:
- “If I adhere to the safety measures, I increase the chance that I will stay healthy”;
- “It looks like the current situation will last longer, what do I need to make (and keep) it feasible so that I can deal with it?”
It puts me at the steering wheel of the ship that is my life (again). It keeps me (pro-)active. It makes me resilient.
How do you make this switch?:
- By having clarity on the distinction between ‘What do I want?’ and ‘What is needed?’
- To make important choices from what is needed not from what you want.
I want to go to my mother to give her a big hug. I want to gather with friends for a glass of wine. My neighbour is in a gloomy mood; I want to take her to the cinema so that she has an enjoyable evening. However, that is not what is needed right now.
What is needed is that I give my mother a virtual hug on skype. What is needed is that we organize zoom-dinners. What is needed is that I take my neighbour for a short walk, taking into account social distancing.
When reality doesn’t live up to what you want, you still have to do what is needed. Only then can you have patience out of knowing that things will be all right again. Whatever that might mean.
When do you already have patience out of knowing by dealing thoroughly with the ‘here and now’? What can you do (even) more?
How clear is the difference between ‘What do I want’ and ‘What is needed’ for you? What helps you to do what you need to do, even though that might be different from what you want to do? What can you do (even) more?
As from now, I will again regularly post a quote out of my book “Connective Clarity. When Horses Invite You to Take up Authentic, Solution Focused Leadership” (available on Amazon and www.connective-clarity.org).
I am curious to find out what your reflections are, what actions this might inspire you. Would you like to share these?
Wendy Van den Bulck
#ConnectiveClarity #SolutionFocus #AuthenticLeadership #HorsePower #patience #patienceoutofknowing #doingwhatisneeded #smallsteps #thoroughness