The Wisdom of Patience

“Sometimes we have the dream, but we are not ourselves ready for the dream;
We have to grow to meet it.” — Louis L’Amour

When I begin coaching clients, they are understandably anxious to reach their goals and dreams, especially since we live in a culture that expects instant results. My clients and I determine the steps that appear to be necessary for them to accomplish their goals, then they take them. During their coaching process they learn more about themselves regarding their actual wants, abilities and contributions rather than reacting to the “shoulds” and “musts” that they have unquestioningly followed. As they clarify more about themselves or circumstances change, some steps toward their goals may need to be adjusted. There are times in the process where the outcomes cannot be forced and often take much more time than clients wish.

I have seen situations where clients wanted a very specific outcome and didn’t get it, becoming quite disappointed. (Are we human?!) In preparation for times like this, I’ve taught clients this statement: “Have a clear intention without expectations.” What I mean by this is to know what you want and work towards it (intention) without being so attached to a particular picture of the outcome (expectation) that if another great opportunity comes along that looks different from what you wanted, you wouldn’t recognize it. It is important to be flexible rather than rigid in pursuing goals and dreams. The coaching process is a curvy line that sometimes curls back on itself rather than a straight line moving directly to the finish line.

I’ve also found that the thought “This or something better” has been helpful because the results may turn out better than we ever could have imagined. At times clients have required additional experiences, or they needed to meet a particular person who connected them to someone else, or serendipitously they read an important piece of information that solved their confusing puzzle and enabled them to reach their dream.

Last month when I was out of town, I received an unexpected email from a client I’d been coaching for several months. He’d completed his thorough self-assessment and had been researching and interviewing for a variety of positions within his technical industry. He was ready for a change yet none of the opportunities he found “lit him up”. I was completely surprised when he wrote that he’d decided to take a course in teaching English to speakers of other languages and to teach for at least a year in a foreign country!

Working directly with people in this helping capacity really interested him. He has always wanted to experience living in another country. Up to now he has traveled only within the US and to Mexico. As a mid-life divorced person with a child in college, he is ready to live his dream! This new opportunity is a way for him to combine many interests even though he doesn’t know how the work and travel experience will turn out. However, he feels excited about the whole adventure and trusts that he’ll learn a lot and that it will impact his life in a positive way. This is critical: he’s trusting his intuition that this feels right for him and he’s willing to move forward with his dream when there are no guarantees. And there are seldom guarantees in life.

As we are beginning the new year, what dreams, goals or intentions do you have? Are you open to “This or something better?” Are you willing to move toward your dream without knowing specifically how you’ll get there or what the results will be? This is how people live lives that are rich and engaging.


Lorrie’s Learnings is a monthly e-article which shares my awarenesses, learnings, contemplations and anything else that comes to the mind of this life coach! Let me know the articles that give you new perspectives/thoughts/feelings, confirm what you’ve been thinking or move you into action. To receive Lorrie’s Learnings straight to your email inbox, click here!