Maybe you need to go backwards to flow forward?


I found an old email file this last weekend.

Okay, truth: I found several. I’m not saying how many.

These were email files filled with advice and instructions from coaches and consultants I hired in the past.

As I read some of these emails, I blushed.

There were so many things they’d suggested that I never actually tried.


Truth: it would have been too much work. I hired them secretly hoping for an easy magic pill. I didn’t want to be patient, build things, split test.

My impatience, which once upon a time helped me write a book no one thought I could write, had became a liability.

Doing the work that we are burning to do takes titanic patience. Grit. Slowing down so you can speed up later. That’s never been easy – read almost any young artist’s letters bemoaning how long her work is taking – but now, in our hyper-instant go-viral-or-go-home times, patience seems wrongheaded. Bad business. There has to be a way to make it happen this week, or by the end of the summer, or before you turn 40/50/60.

There just has to be!

Truth: looking for shortcuts has cost me. Cost not only time, energy, and money, but most painfully, my impatience battered my deepest desires.

Impatience made me believe the lie that I could not _____. (I could fill in that blank with so many things so let’s just leave it blank.)

I’m not claiming I’ve become the patient one. If I did that, Bob & Lillian would write you a blog post consisting of one humongous snort.

All I’m claiming is I’ve been watching this pattern with a loving eagle eye and I’m asking others to help me see it. I’m putting in the hours writing something I care about. I’m practicing yoga every day. I’m limiting email and social media (speeds me up & I fall into draining comparisons). I’m reminding myself what I’m devoted to: creating deeply and truly, and praying that my work is of service.

How about you? Is impatience holding you back? Or maybe you’re too patient, in which case, let’s do a switcheroo? I’ll swap you a container ship of slapdash zip for one of loving small daily steps. A win-win!



P.S. Care to share?

Patience is beautiful. Give your great work the time and devotion it needs.
(Click to Tweet.)

P.P.S. I’m going to act on some of these ancient coaching suggestions. What advice have you ignored in the past that it’s now time to heed?

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Leah W - June 18, 2014

This post was lovely and really spoke to me too. I too thank you for your honesty.

I think I noticed that I wasn’t heeding some past wisdom when I recognized I have a pattern of shiny object syndrome for e-courses, purchased when I was at personal low points and wanted to feel better, supported. It probably goes without saying that even if I participated fully in some of them, I didn’t put their wisdom into practice.

The biggest piece of advice that I didn’t heed: was to do the work and be in the muck… but that also ties into some other pieces; take breaks/ retreats/ whatever recharges your batteries whenever you can, and that not everyone will support your creative dreams, but it doesn’t mean they are not valid or worth the pursuit.

    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    that is great advice! Thank you Leah.

Kathryn Hall - June 18, 2014

Great post Jennifer. There have definitely been times when I’ve tried to take short-cuts only to end up making more work for myself in the end or not getting the results I’ve wanted. These days I take the time to really think about what I want, and stop trying to rush things! Thanks for sharing 🙂

SuziMinor - June 18, 2014

I teeter totter with impatience and patience as I try to balance my efforts one day to allowing things to fall into place the next. When there doesn’t seem to be any results I begin to question and analyze everything. It’s a constant tug-o-war in this playground of life and I thought playgrounds were supposed to be fun?

    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    playgrounds can be fun when we relax… or that’s what I’ve heard.

Barb Burns Churchill - June 18, 2014

Oh how often I read your blog and feel I could have written it! I am so challenged by impatience I’m thinking of starting a 12-step support group. Thank you for your honesty (I can always count on that) and the reminder that we live in a “go viral or your work sucks” world. Leaning in to my work day and so grateful you’re part of it. Much love & appreciation!

    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    i love that idea Barb!! maybe i should do a support group for all of us!

      Barb Burns Churchill - June 27, 2014

      I’d be in in for sure, Jen! It’s amazing how it affects my life, if I allow it.

Sandra Pawula - June 18, 2014

I can so relate to all the advice not followed! It’s usually because I think I don’t have the time. But, ha-ha, as you point out, you just circle around to deal with the same things later.

I’ve also made the mistake of being too patient by following someone’s advice and staying with it too long even though it didn’t work. I find the arising of “resentment” is a good clue it’s time to stop. And, this is why “experiment” is my motto these days.

I love how you’re reminding yourself of what you are truly devoted to each day. That’s key, isn’t it!

    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    my new mantra: i have no time to hurry.

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natanya lara - June 21, 2014

Thank you, thank you for this. Such a beautifully honest, spot on reflection of thoughts I barely allow myself to see, let alone put onto paper. This in particular rings true: ‘impatience battered my deepest desires’… so true, it gives me chills but also gratitude that I am not alone, hope that I am moving in the right direction and determination to just.keep.going.

Advice that keeps coming up for me but has been challenging to follow is (ironically) to not look outside of myself for a ‘plan’. To get quiet enough to hear my intuition, to listen for the next right action, and then do that. (Talk about ‘titanic patience’ and seriously slowing down ;)) Working on it… ~<3~

    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    me too!!!

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Gabriela Steiner - June 23, 2014

This is so funny Jen! You are writing about something that is a very burning subject for me right now.
I am in the process of starting a very project right now and as usual am not very happy with the progress I am making. And then I read the following bible verse yesterday:

“Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.”

It’s exactly what we do all the time. But if we are unhappy with the small sprout of an apple seed and tear it out, we will never get to see the tree or enjoy its fruits.

    jenlouden - June 27, 2014

    that is so true!!! small beginnings shall be celebrated!

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