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December, 2011

Can you delay gratification? 

My mom had open heart surgery earlier this month for an aortic valve replacement.


It was not optional.


She had to make the choice to get the surgery along with a long recovery period riddled with pain and discomfort if she wanted to continue to live.


We don't often encounter life/death choices like this one, but what this choice made me realize was the importance of being able to delay gratification.  In other words we need to understand that oftentimes we have to go through some difficulty in order to get to a better place.  Whether it's about the lower paying work you are doing now to build experience for your ultimate career aspiration, or it's the budget you are sticking to in order to buy your first home, or foregoing a vacation so that you can buy a new car.


Delayed gratification epitomizes the give and take and trade-offs that are part of our daily choices.


Unfortunately, much of our "I want it NOW" culture and society has come to value immediate gratification at the expense of valuing the importance of delayed gratification in serving us in life, both at home and at work.  Getting dependent upon immediate gratification is a slippery slope filled with a belief of entitlement and a lack of appreciation.


I have to remind myself of the value of delayed gratification as I go into 2012 realizing that my family will be renovating a home while living in it and knowing that it can and will be difficult.  But, in the end we will have the dream home we have been working towards for 10 plus years.


When I started my entrepreneurial venture almost 5 years ago, I wanted to replicate my corporate salary quickly.  This was my desire for immediate gratification acting up, not recognizing that building a business takes time, effort and some pain.  Now I realize this and I now have a stronger ability to withstand the need for immediate gratification in my business knowing that my clients have taken months and years to cultivate.  Contrary to what many people may advertise on the Internet or in books, overnight success is not possible in any aspect of our lives. 


Goals take time to reach and getting comfortable with delaying your gratification will give you the tenacity to reach them.  It will also give you a deeper sense of gratitude and appreciation.


Every day my mom improves.  Time is what is needed to allow her new valve to bring her renewed life. Thank goodness she is learning how to delay her own gratification for immediate wellness.


So, as we share in the spirit of the holidays and your child-like qualities take over as you sneak open that gift before its time to do so. Instead, remember to delay gratification as gifts are given and received with plenitude, to appreciate the time; effort and even difficulty that the giver may have endured to provide the gifts.


After all, gratitude and appreciation are the real gifts of delaying your gratification.


May your holidays be bright and the new year bring you closer to your goals.


Happy Holidays!


Are you wondering what your next step should be? Consider one-on-one business coaching to help you get clear on what's next and how to position yourself for success. Contact Laura for some customized and personalized coaching.   


Laura Lopez is an award-winning author of The Connected and Committed Leader.  She is also a consultant, and a Birkman Method certified business coach who has been featured on the Today Show and Fox News.

In addition, her accomplishments have been highlighted in several business periodicals including  Personal Excellence, The Long Beach Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her articles on management and leadership are regularly seen in Leadership Excellence. 

Laura can be contacted via her Web site at:


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All the best,
Laura Lopez
Laura Lopez & Company
(713) 868-5025
cell (713) 828-8829