Imagine that you are out to eat or at a salon and the services rendered fall short your expectations. You are left with some options on handling the situation. You could leave without addressing the issue and never return. You could continue to have the services in the future and avoid telling the person or establishment of your disapproval. Or you could speak up and tell them how you feel. Which option would you choose?
There is an old saying that my mother uses that applies to this situation. She always made a point to share it with us before we embarked on a situation or interaction that she felt would leave us with the choice of speaking up or walking away. She anticipated that we would be placed in a position that would more than likely lead to confrontation. In her hopes to prepare us she would tell us :
"Don't take any wooden nickels."
I know that sounds silly because when have you seen a wooden nickel? There has been no recorded history that shows wooden nickels as a form of currency in the United States. This phrase simply put means "don't get taken advantage of." That being said, the hypothetical situation I gave above about expectations not being met would fall into the "wooden nickels" category.
Those that know me well know that my nature is to be firm, but fair when it comes to matters involving client services. If an experience I have does not meet my expectations, trust me, someone will hear about. When I was younger, before my patience developed into, let's just say- a virtue, my assertive-aggressive interaction, and persistence would have been confrontational. I was recently put in a situation that would test my patience and persistence.
I recently moved into an older apartment complex that is in a heavily wooded area. I mean wooded like woodland creatures roaming around leisurely at all times of the day, ants and lizards of an unusually large size heavily wooded area. There are very old trees near my front door and right outside my living room window are a group of large bushes. As the weeks have passed, the bushes have gotten bigger and taller, but no one came to trim them down. I called to request that the bushes be trimmed three times and in person twice. No Dice! On my fifth interaction (which made the second in-person request) I was told that the bushes would be "taken care" within a few days. You could imagine my doubt of the bushes being trimmed. I was ITCHING to show them how much more persistent I could be about the bushes, but I held off by practicing patience.
Wouldn't you know it, three days later I received a call from the office staff telling me that the bushes would be trimmed that day and that if the job was not done well or to my liking to give them a call?
As I get older and wiser I realize that patience is a necessary tool in developing/maintaining relationships and self-confidence. It places your mind and spirit in a calm state that makes you more deliberate in your actions and decisions. That's not to say that in some situations persistence won't pay off. The lesson in this is that it is important to balance persistence and patience to get more favorable results. Then there is no worry for having to take any wooden nickels. You might not be able to get monetary change from them, but the change you do get will make you a more patient, level headed person. That change I will take any day.
Have you struggled with finding the balance between patience and persistence? What steps have you taken to find the balance?