I spent the last three months trying to make the perfect greens. My first two attempts fell short of expectation, but the batch for Thanksgiving was perfect. (Ask my family for proof.) In hindsight, there was one key element that changed the outcome of my greens drastically, and I’m learning that the plans I’m cooking up in my own life require this same ingredient.
In my family, everyone has mastered certain dishes and mine are greens and apple pie. While I had been struggling to make greens the last two times, Thanksgiving was not going to be the moment where I lost my touch. I always make fresh greens, but when I tried making them a few months ago, I was determined to save time by using frozen greens. I convinced myself that with the right seasonings, I would achieve the same taste. I was wrong.
Weeks later, I volunteered to cook greens for a birthday dinner, but I didn’t make the time to prepare them, so I purchased the seasoned can of “Glory” greens. The fraudulence and lack of authenticity gnawed at me on the inside, and there was no way either of my attempts would be acceptable for Thanksgiving.
I didn’t realize it at the moment, but in my first two attempts at making greens, time was a major factor. I wanted quick results on my schedule with less effort. I lacked patience. I failed to see that when I rushed the cooking process, just like other aspects of my life, I always ended up disappointed.
How often do we set out to accomplish a personal goal, but fall short because we can't control how long it takes or when it should happen? I can think of instance after instance in my own life where I constricted a process with my own time limits. More often than not, I do this when it comes to taking time to grow, love, or heal. I jump ahead, knowing that I haven’t taken the time to develop myself, just to end up unfulfilled and back where I started.
When I made the greens for Thanksgiving, I planned to be up all night. I let the water, butter and broth simmer for an unlimited amount of time. I added my seasonings and let them sit for an unknown period as well. Finally, I mixed in the turkey wings and went off to tend to other needs while the flavor soaked in. Eventually, I returned to the pot and seasoned the broth until it tasted just right. This process took at least an hour or two before I even added the greens. In this instance, time wasn’t my focus; I stayed committed to the results.
Right now, life has me in a place of preparation, and the more I try to shortcut my development, the longer it will take me to reach my intended goals. I need to go in with the understanding that the process may take a while. When people say "trust the "process" they understand that over time we gain experience and skills that soak in to prepare us for the perfect moment.
When I think about the process of entrepreneurship, healing, and relationships in my own life, I think of the time constraints and limitations I put on natural routes of growth. In business, timelines are good for goals and guides, but ultimately you have to accept that some quality results can only be achieved over time. My greens weren’t turning out right, because I didn’t include patience. I wanted things to be done on my timeline.
If I learned anything from this Thanksgiving, it’s that patience is a necessary ingredient, and it can’t be substituted if you want a quality outcome. Whatever it is you’ve been attempting, give yourself the time (unlimited) to make it happen, and focus on what you need to prepare in the meantime to get the intended results.