Patience. Not my strongest trait. I don’t even have the patience to wait for the kettle to boil for tea. I use the microwave. My need for speed is fed daily by the internet and encouraged by the media. The headlines scream ‘Make Millions Overnight’ and ‘Lose Weight While You Sleep’. But everyone knows that these are mostly just a pitch and rarely deliver the honest goods.

Real change takes place slowly in small incremental steps that are often hard to discern. Skills take time to develop through patience and practise. Do you know the difference between a hardwood and a softwood? Hardwood is used for furniture and give off good heat when burned because of their density. Softwoods are used for framing houses and burn bright with little heat. So how does one type of tree have harder wood than another?

Hardwood trees grow slowly and thus their wood is denser and stronger. Softwood ones grow more quickly than their hardwood cousins. Their wood is lighter and less dense. Because hardwood is slower growing, the trees have a longer lifespan than their softwood counterparts. Hardwood is not as easily marked making it more durable as a flooring material. Each type of tree has its place in the eco system and each wood has its specific use.

What happens when you rush things?

Microwave cooking is said to take the flavour out of food. This is a matter of opinion but food cooked incorrectly can come out rubbery and tasteless. Food that is prepared well and allowed to cook slowly has the most flavour. Think about some of the finest meals you have had with your family: Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. These meals take time to prepare and when you all sit around the table to enjoy them, they take time to eat and enjoy.

Fast food is unhealthy. Very few fast food restaurants meals make it to the healthy meal category. And eating too quickly can cause you to overeat because your stomach doesn’t have time to tell your brain it’s full.

Remember cramming for an exam in school? And after you write it, you forget everything?  Can you recall much of what you studied for your Algebra exam? Me neither. Being able to recall data, facts and figures requires spaced repetition over time.

Crash diets may work in the short term but over time most people gain the weight back again and then some. Changing habits takes time. Without changing the eating habits, then what put the weight on in the first place doesn’t change.Trust me on this one. I have been through this several times.

Infatuation or ‘falling in love’ quickly rarely leads to long term love. Even those who say they fell in love the moment they met usually felt a spark of rapport but still spent time building the relationship before making a commitment. Those that don’t, well we know where most of the end up. Relationships take time to develop because trust takes time to develop. Whether you are looking to build a relationship with direct reports or customers, you can build rapport quickly but trust is something you have to earn over time.

Here is what I have learned. Anything worthwhile takes time. Anything worthwhile takes an investment. Growth is a process. Mastering a skill is a process. Change is a process. Relationships are a process. Having a plan makes the process manageable and results predictable. Having a coach and mentor is a way to shorten the process.

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