Patience: the Secret Ingredient to Achieving Goals

Sit-Ups

This picture isn't specifically about volleyball, but how many of you can relate? I know I can. They say this is a "fast-paced world full of generations who expect immediate results." In many ways, they are correct. With all the resources available, knowledge and information are quite literally at our fingertips. At school and in the workplace, deadlines are getting shorter and shorter while demands upon efficiency steadily climb, sometimes disproportionately to the amount of hours in the day. Multitasking is no longer a gift someone has but a requirement in the eyes of many. If all these people insist on instant gratification, then of course we should expect it from ourselves…right?

Whenever I think about this topic, one off-the-court moment comes to mind. A couple years ago, I was coaching 11-year-old girls for a local club. (Such a fun age because it was their first year of club volleyball for most and there was never, ever a dull moment!) After the first week of practice, one of the dad's approached me,

"My daughter wants to be the starting setter of a Division I volleyball team? What does she need to do to get there?"

I was a bit surprised to say the least. Here was this very, very nice and well-meaning father and his shy, pony-tailed daughter of, maybe, 4'10" asking about college…at 11 years of age. While I don't remember my surely fumbled answer, I'm sure I said some encouraging words about working hard this year to learn the skills to build a foundation for her future career. One week of U-11's practices was not going to make her a DI sensation overnight.

There is an old saying: "Rome wasn't built in one day." One of the largest empires in world history didn't just happen because someone demanded it be true. The Romans fought to conquer each piece of their empire. They did it in a very ruthless and violent way mind you, but again, it was earned. We really need to have the same expectations as the Romans for ourselves: if we want to reach a goal, we need to earn it.

We cannot expect ourselves to reach our goals after one try or one step.

You did 50 sit-ups and an hour of cardio, but can't find your 6-pack? That's okay. Do it again! And keep doing it until you reach your goal.

You tried 10 times to get your overhand serve over for the first time? That's okay. Don't give up. Do 10 more!

Sometimes it takes more than just hard work and determination to achieve your goal. Sometimes Patience is the secret ingredient. Without patience, it is hard to stay motivated. Without Patience, it makes it too easy to give up. And without Patience, it is tough to feel like a goal will never be within reach.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in one day. No one has a 6-pack after one session. If you don't succeed with your first try, find patience in this fast-paced world and keep working at it. Before long, your serve will be soaring over the net in a tough match against your DI rivals.