Lately, the concept of patience has been on my mind as my clients and I embark on new goals, dreams and endeavors. Change is a process rather than event, and anyone can get frustrated when it does not happen quickly. By casting our gaze to nature, we can learn to mitigate our expectations using logic, reason and facts.

The plant pictured above is a Peace Lily and was given to me in 2008. Since then, I have watered it, fed it, trimmed it and nurtured it, trying out different spots until I found one that is just right. The plant is flourishing and its blooms are a welcome sight during a cold winter. The Peace Lily now stands at 37″.

Then there is this guy:

Standing at 3″, it is called a Zebra Cactus (although it is a succulent) and I recently acquired it.

It would be unreasonable to expect the Zebra Cactus to achieve the same growth as the Peace Lily for several reasons. First, the Peace Lily has an nine-year head start. Second, the Zebra will never be as large a plant as the Peace Lily because its particular genus only grows to a maximum of eight inches. Finally, it is a slow grower. Feeding will aid progress, but cannot change the innate properties of this sweet petite succulent.

As far as I know, the Zebra is not worrying about how it stacks up against the Peace Lily or feeling inferior in terms of growth or appearance. It is simply going about the business of being a plant, accepting food, water and sunlight and responding as its unique nature dictates. We are creatures of nature too, born with certain preset characteristics, personalities and preferences. Some can be adjusted, adapted, and amplified. Others are fixed.

It is up to us to strive to be the best we can, with the understanding that growth takes time and effort, and we are working within our particular personalities, natural and acquired skills. If we practice patience and learn from our mentors and role models without judging ourselves against them, the process becomes one of nurturing, encouragement and accomplishment whether you’re a Peace Lily or a Zebra Cactus.

Dena Lefkowitz is a regular contributor on The Huffington Post.