Here at The Profitable Entrepreneur, we talk a lot about taking action: setting goals, increasing your productivity, squeezing more into your day, and so on. But sometimes the thing your business needs is the exact opposite of action. It’s patience.
Whether you’re waiting to see if a major deal will come through, waiting to see how the market reacts to new legislation, or waiting on someone who’s become a bottleneck to your progress, the waiting game is a tough one to play.
It can make you feel powerless—and like pulling your hair out! But take heart, fellow entrepreneur, and hold out a little longer, because being patient can pay off big in the long run. Here are some things to keep in mind while you wait it out.
As entrepreneurship expert Gary Vaynerchuk told the crowd at one of his popular keynote speeches, “the disproportionate reason so many people in here will not win is not the hard work… it’s your lack of patience.”
It’s a concept that takes everything we understand about success and turns it on its head. It’s been ingrained into our minds that the way to succeed is through hard work—if we show up and hustle day after day, we’re bound to make it.
Persistence and hard work breed success, no doubt about that. But the maxim comes with a caveat that’s far less talked-about: it can take a long, long time.
Now more than ever, we’re conditioned to want instant gratification. We tap a notification on our phone and within milliseconds, we’re connected to our favorite app. If it takes too long to load, we close out, switching to our text messages or camera or another app that loads faster.
Delay isn’t something that’s typically rewarded. In business, however, it’s often the entrepreneur who sticks it out the longest that wins in the end.
When you’re feeling frustrated at your lack of results, ask yourself: have I truly put in a reasonable amount of time to achieve the results I’m expecting? Many times, the honest answer is no, so hang in there and remember that patience wins.
Quiet Your Mind
While you should be consciously patient, dedicating the proper time to wait for the things that are meaningful to you, that doesn’t mean you need to obsess over them every minute of that time! Be mindful of overthinking—that maddening behavior of focusing on one thing so long that it starts to drive you crazy.
If you’ve done everything you can and all that’s left to do is wait, it’s the perfect opportunity to focus some of your attention elsewhere. Take up a side project that interests you or spend time mentoring a budding entrepreneur. Giving back is always a great way to fill the time.
Diverting your attention will not only help the time pass faster, but will keep you from obsessing over the thing you’re waiting for. And even when you’re focused on something else, your subconscious mind is still hard at work behind the scenes and may deliver a new path or opening you hadn’t seen previously.
Be Open To New Opportunities
A company’s success often lies not in its brilliant first idea, but its ability to pivot. Your waiting game may turn into just that: an opportunity to pivot or explore a slightly different approach that will serve you better in the long run.
The key is being open to the change.
If you’re stuck on an idea that doesn’t seem to be panning out, perhaps it’s for good reason; maybe your idea or your execution needs tweaking. Use this period of uncertainty to meet new people, experience new things and absorb new ideas. Any one of them might be the catalyst you need to bring your waiting game to an end.
Plan For Success
As the old saying goes, hope for the best and plan for the worst. We prefer instead to plan for success. But there’s a catch—success might not come in the package you had planned for.
When you play the waiting game, you gain perspective that can only come through the passing of time. Often, time will bring clarity on the path you should follow or the idea you should pursue. Sometimes, it’s not the same plan you started with.
While your patience may pay off, accept that fact that it could take a different form than you originally intended.
That’s okay—and should be embraced! Planning for success means believing that winning is inevitable, even if it’s not on the exact terms you had envisioned.
Planning for success means getting the components ready for when your business takes off, whether that’s shortlisting your dream team of employees, lining up suppliers or brainstorming a big marketing campaign. Just because you’re waiting doesn’t mean the wheels can’t still be turning.
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