3 Tips to Develop Patience

3 Tips to Develop Patience

Hi, everybody.  I’m coach Rebecca, and today I am here to talk about patience.  I chose to discuss patience today because there are a lot of reasons to be patient right now in the world, but also, patience is something that has not always come naturally to me.

I want to give you three tips to develop that superpower of champions.  Now, patience is not exciting.  It’s not something that we wake up thinking, “I really want to wake up and be more patient today.” It’s usually the last thing that I want to have to do, but if you can get good at it, so much as possible for you.

Problem Solver

Before I give you the tips, I want to tell you just a little bit about my life.  I don’t know if you can relate to this, but when things don’t feel like they’re going my way, I want to figure them out.  I am a problem solver, and I imagine you might be a little bit like me.  I want to know the solution now.  The reason for this is because I am uncomfortable when I don’t know how it’s going to go.  I want to know so I can feel comfortable.  This is something that I have struggled with my whole life.  A lot of the athletes that I work with have struggled with this as well.

My Big Dreams

As soon as I know how a situation will play out, then I can feel safe and secure and I can be comfortable again.  But that is not exactly how it works, unfortunately.  Have you ever come up with some big plan for yourself and then it didn’t work out exactly as you had thought?  I was thinking back to when I was five – I wanted to be the president (I am really glad I don’t have that job today).  My platform was going to be carpool lanes on all the freeways.  That’s not my life.  Then I had this big dream at age 12 – I decided I want to be a sport psychologist.  I met this woman at a gymnastics camp and it said, “Done.  That’s my career.  That’s what I want to be.”

Then I had a really rocky start to college.  I dropped out of college and took this really twisty-turney route through life, but eventually, my intuition brought me back on track – a few years later than I had thought – and I was able to reach that goal, in a way.  I didn’t get a license, but I’m able to work in the field of sport psychology and love what I do.

Here’s what it took – a lot of hard work, a lot of support, and a lot of patience.

It was a seven-year plan.  At so many points during school and getting a business started, I was like, “It’s too hard,” but I had all this support and I just kept working hard. And here I am today.

3 Tips for Developing Patience

Here are my three tips for developing that superpower patience that will allow you to have the life that you want to reach your goals.

1. Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

If you want to be a more patient person, which will allow you to get your dreams, you have to be uncomfortable.  You have to be comfortable in the discomfort of life.  That means that you have to build some grit.  Angela Duckworth came up with the term grit.  Grit is not that you didn’t fall down, you just kept running the race and you won.  You’re the one who got up more times than your competition.  Every time you fall down, you get back up, and every time you don’t get what you want, you work at it a different way.  You try it again.

It’s not that you have had success handed to you.  None of the amazing athletes that I’ve had, the opportunity of working with and interviewing have had success handed to them.  Not one.  They have had to work.  They’ve had to get up every day and go after it, even when it was hard, even when it was uncomfortable, no matter how long it took, they kept at it.

Gritty people don’t give up until the end.  If you haven’t reached your goal, it’s not the end.

2. Develop a Growth Mindset

My little kindergartener is reading books about this and kindergarten and this is something that will change her life.  This will change your life if you’re able to develop a growth mindset.

The quickest way to get yourself into a growth mindset is to add the word “yet” to the end of your sentences.

“Oh, we didn’t win… yet.”

“Oh, I didn’t get my skill… yet.”

“I didn’t get to that level… yet.”

Add that yet onto the end and it takes you out of “poor me” or “I want to quit” to “Let’s go after it.  Let’s stick with it.”


Impatience is the hallmark of a closed mindset, and that’s that feeling that if you don’t get it now, you will never get it.  So if you add the yet, it just reminds you that it’s just a matter of time.  If you have grit and you stay after it, you keep getting up, you will get there.

Adam Ripon’s Journey to the Olympics

One of my favorite Olympians is Adam Ripon.  He was a skater in the last winter Olympics that we had. He was 28 years old at his Olympic debut, which in figure skating terms is very old.  This guy went after it, his first Olympic trials, at around 17.  He was fourth at nationals, which meant that he was one spot shy of making that Olympic team.  The next time he went he was either fourth fifth, he did not make the team. But he kept training and training.  He had his eyes on the prize and was continuing to get up and try again.

At 28 years old, he went… and I will never forget the confidence this man had at Olympic trials when he was like, “Honey, if I don’t make the Olympic team, it’s only because one of the other skaters has his mother on the judging panel.  I have worked so hard.  I am so ready for this, that this is happening.”  And he made the team and he was a sensation and he was amazing.

So what you have to do – instead of focusing on what didn’t work out, is just out of yet.  He didn’t make the team yet, but it was coming and he knew it.  He focused on his effort and his progress and getting better and better and better and trusting that he would get there if he kept at it.  That’s a growth mindset.

3. Keeping Things in Perspective

If you’re focusing on “I must get this skill now or else”, that is very stressful. Instead, think, “I have goals of going to collegiate sport,” or, “I want to get to this certain point. I really want to get to this next level.”  Dream it and you keep your focus on the bigger picture.

For me, if my dream was to be a sports psychologist by age 20, or by age 23, and I had a really linear college experience, I could have been a sports psychologist by age 23.  That didn’t happen for me.  If I had been like, “Well, now I can’t because I’m too old.  Now I’m doing real estate and I’m just going to be a gymnastic, no shame in that,” but instead I was decided, “No, I’m going to go get this thing if I’m 50, when I get there,” and I’ve been at it six years now and it’s been amazing.

If you have a dream, you don’t have to put a deadline on it. 

There’s that amazing vaulter who is in her forties and she’s been in eight Olympics.  So if you tell me, “Oh, if I don’t get it now, I’ll never get it,” it’s just not the truth.  Keep it in perspective.  If you have a dream and you have a goal, it might not be the straightest path to get there, but you absolutely can get there if you keep your eyes on the prize.

Kyla Ross, Jonathan Horton, Samantha Peszek – all three are all Olympians, but they also had major setbacks.  Kyla Ross dealt with big mental blocks.  Jonathan Horton, he failed, he lost his first elite meet.  He was the worst one at his first elite meet and he was also the only one from that meet that made it to the Olympics.  Samantha Peszek – major mental blocks – and all of them kept their focus on the bigger picture.  They kept getting up and they kept saying, “Not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet.” They focused on their dreams.  They did not let fears or failures or injuries or setbacks stop them from getting what they wanted and neither did I, and you don’t have to either.

So, are you ready to find patience?  If you are willing to get uncomfortable and you’re willing to add the word “yet”, and you’re willing to keep focusing on your big dream and get to work, then you can be patient and trust that everything is working out exactly as it should.  And you are going to have everything you want.

Thanks for hanging out with me today.  I will see you again soon.


Perform Happy 3 Tips to Develop Patience with Coach Rebecca Smith

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