Willie Young, a defensive end on this year’s Chicago Bears, recently said in the Chicago Tribune, “To some extent, patience is the key to success….But it’s all about staying focused, staying patient.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, speaking about time healing difficult tragedies, had an interesting insight in his book, Why We Can’t Wait. Paraphrasing, he said time alone does not heal. How you USE the time is what heals.
Just as the use of time relates to healing, focus relates to patience. Patience can and often does lead to success. But patience without focus will not bring success.
When we first got to the University of St. Francis, we hoped to eventually be good enough to get into the six-team NAIA state playoffs, which led to a national tournament appearance. That was our focus. We were fortunate to recruit players who achieved that goal.
The playoff format changed and our goal changed. We then strove to win the post-season playoffs and get to the national tournament. We lost once in the playoffs when we were ranked first in the state and we lost twice in the state championship game, but our focus to advance to the national tournament remained.
Our patience was rewarded and we finally reached the tournament. I always believed it was the focus that led to the success even more than the patience.
This is why leaders set goals. The goals create the focus and how you use the time creates the success. Focus, use of time, and patience all work together.