Everyone wants an overnight success. Few of us get it.
Kristie Kennedy, a leadership coach, told us via our 1,000 Stories project that patience is her biggest challenge in growing a business. “I personally want everything to happen yesterday.” Melissa Moo Harkins of MooMotion says: “The quintessential NYC mentality of ‘I want it NOW’ is probably not the best attitude! I have to constantly remind myself that laying the groundwork is equally important as building and growing.”
What’s the secret to mastering patience as an entrepreneur?
Waiting for a business deal to close or for success to happen is like waiting for a date to happen. When you are sitting around and waiting, it can feel like an eternity. If you are busy and loving your life, time accelerates and you don’t feel so desperate for it to “happen yesterday.”
In the Daily Action Planner that I created, there’s a section that you fill out daily called “Ships” (a concept from The Wealthy Spirit by Chellie Campbell), which increases your abundance factor. If you send out at least three ships (sales calls, PR pitches, partnership proposals) per day, you will eventually get some gold back to you. You won’t care as much about the rejections or the long waits because before you know it, “yeses” will come back to you… in abundance.
The bad news is there’s really no instant gratification in starting a business. That’s why most people can’t handle it. (Want an instant paycheck? It’s called a job.) It took me years to become an “overnight” success, and while everyone sees the magical moments today and often think I was “lucky,” they didn’t see my early years of pounding the pavement in shoes from Payless and foraging for a $4 dinner at Pick-a-Bagel. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy right away. Have a vibrant long-term vision, but put your focus on getting revenue coming in ASAP for both your bills and your ego. And decide what gratification means to you. Once I actually realized my most important personal value was freedom, I enjoyed it from Day 1.
Patience is something I’ve always struggled with. What I’ve learned is that the ability to “reframe” a situation is critical in startup success. What feels like a long time is often much faster than you think, and that sense of urgency is often self-inflicted. I’ve learned to have patience with important things as a way of honoring how important they are. There is a diligence that comes with patience and a sense of intention behind a project that I find to be hugely advantageous when used correctly. For me the secret to patience is taking a deep breath and reminding myself this truly is a marathon and not a sprint, and it’s also about enjoying the ride.
I can specifically relate in terms of waiting for a business deal to close. My grandfather used to say… “Don’t worry about the things you can’t control.” This has always stuck with me, as obviously I can’t control other people’s decision-making process. While every media channel bombards us with messages of “instant gratification,” I personally find that the best things (and deals) take time. We’re going through this with a franchise candidate right now – I keep reminding myself, we will be a better business because of this. And heck, it’s going be a lot more fun to celebrate the close of the deal, because we’ve worked so hard for it. One side benefit of thinking this way… my stress level is as low as the Fed’s interest rate, because I truly believe, the “right” thing will happen at the “right” time.
Any complex endeavor is built brick by brick, and you just have to learn that over time. I’ll give you an example. I’ve known Rob Dyrdek — pro skateboarder, serial entrepreneur, and media mogul — for about five years. The first time we met, he handed me the business plan for Street League Skateboarding, a pro league he had been plotting. He told me at the time he believed it would become his legacy. Today, when I attend the championships, with thousands of fans in the stands and the world’s best skateboarders competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, I think back to what was literally just words on paper and how amazing it’s been to see it come to life over time. And there’s Rob in the front row, of course, with an ear-to-ear grin on his face. It’s a long game — and it’s damn rewarding when you cross that finish line.
Rod Kurtz, @rodkurtz
Remember the “watched pot never boils” cliche! Luckily, successful entrepreneurs are too busy to focus on just one thing at a time. While you’re waiting for that one deal to close, move ahead with other initiatives –one of which might lead to your biggest business breakthrough.
To master anything, one needs to practice. If you practice being in a rush and frustrated all the time, that gets to be your habit. If you practice patience, and you do it over and over, even if it’s self conscious at first, after a while it grows to be your relation to the world. The regular practice of meditation can help in generating patience. Cultivating this principle on the cushion or while on a walk through nature, can lead to further competencies that create overall health and well-being. Get curious as to why you’re often in a hurry to be somewhere else in your work and in your life. Allow yourself to be okay with not knowing, for the present moment, how the universe intends to fulfill your business desires. I often find that the more you let go of the pace of the process, the sooner it will likely happen.
When impatience hits, it’s a raw reactionary desire to the thing we want very badly, often because we believe we have put enough effort and work into getting it. Instead we need to see not getting what we want now as a sign that it’s not the right time. Either for reasons that the result of the goal will be a better, different version than we originally expected because of additional experiences we needed to have to manifest it. Or it was always less about the result and more what the journey getting there would teach, provide or pivot us…that is our destiny. Trust that everything is in perfect order, aim and achieve high but be FLEXIBLE in the process knowing that the universe has our back.