If you could put all of your parent’s teachings into one sentence, what would it be?

My dad’s was: Work hard for what you want and let nothing hold you back.

I always followed his advice, throwing myself into studies at school, finding a way to make things happen, and learning to be forward and assertive. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to temper his teaching with my own judgment. It may be a product of my own inherent laziness, but I’ve found that adding an element of patience yields much higher results than simply persistence and hard work alone.

I’ve always been something of a high strung individual. I would become upset if things took too long, if there was a bump in the road, if I received bad news, and if something or someone didn’t meet my standards. I saw whatever the negative was as a testament to how my work wasn’t good enough and how I needed to work harder.

Working in a therapeutic field has changed my view of myself substantially. There are no quick fixes in therapy. Results aren’t always because of something you did. The idea of ownership of everything in a therapeutic relationship doesn’t work. Sometimes all you can do in a therapeutic relationship (and other situations in life) is put the work in, sit back, and wait. It took me a while to learn this lesson and modify the words my Dad’s voice said in my head.

As a result of my learning the hard way, I want to share with you some tips that have helped me maintain my calm through a variety of situations:

Take Stock of What You Have Done: Make a list of the things you have done to attempt to meet your goal. Have you done the best of what you could possibly do? If you haven’t, see what you can improve or try again. If there are things you can change or still do, ask yourself…

Is the window still open?: Make sure the window of opportunity is still open. Sometimes, we only have a short amount of time to make an attempt and what we did is what we will have to live with. You have one chance to make that sales pitch, one chance to nail that interview, one chance to talk to your adolescent child about a touchy subject before they shut down. If the window is closed…

Take a breath and find something to occupy your mind: Sometime the breath needs to be consciously taken. Sometimes the breath just happens in the form of getting sidetracked or becoming ill. I’ve found that this is when the things that are meant to happen do. The person you are working with suddenly makes progress, your teenager comes back and says you were right, things that were going downhill start to look up, and new opportunities arise.

These are tips for hard work and then harmony. The importance lies in the hard work and then the resultant ability to sit back and wait for the results. Happy Relaxing!