Peter Kozodoy, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member from New York, is an author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and Partner/Chief Strategy Officer of GEM Advertising, a full-service communications and marketing agency. In an earlier post, he shared why likeability is his No. 1 business strategy. Here, he explores why entrepreneurs should consider cultivating the art of patience to boost business for success.
Oh, the perks of modern life! Need to send a message? Do so instantly by voice, text, video, email or social media. Want new software? Download it instantly, click to install and get to work. Unsure how to tackle a DIY project? YouTube will teach you, in five minutes or less.
This age of instant everything is an immersive master class in impatience. And yet there are times when, well ... things take time, and the smart path is to "just be patient."
Speaking as a Millennial, patience is a virtue ... that our generation simply doesn't possess.
So, how exactly are patience and success linked? Well, for starters, if we believe that true success is not a final destination but a continual mindset―as I certainly do―then we must be honest with ourselves about how being impatient can wreak havoc on our state of mind.
For example, in my experience, suffering from impatience also means suffering from angst, anxiety and the kind of aggressive rush to action that inevitably results in unnecessary mistakes.
We all know that we should relax and wait prudently to make the best logical move, but when emotions get involved, we sometimes can't help ourselves. So, for those of you out there (like me) who can't sit still long enough even to spell P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E, here are four ways to leverage patience to help you get everything you want in business and in life:
1. Fill the gap with questions.
The next time you're about to make a quick pivot or respond to an email at lightning speed, pause, take a breath and ask yourself some pointed questions instead. The first question to consider is, "What should I be asking about this situation that I haven't yet thought to ask?"
In this case, being patient is a smart way to avoid assumptions―assumptions that could ultimately lead to your downfall. Situations often become clearer as time passes.
For instance, a few months ago I made the mistake of assuming that a new business idea would be a valuable addition to my portfolio. When I actually stopped to ask the hard questions about its realistic margins and profit potential, an honest assessment clearly indicated that it wasn't the right business move after all, saving me who knows how much wasted investment in the long run. Chalk one up for patience!
2. Consider all perspectives.
Being impatient causes us to miss essential signs from the people around us. This is one place where practicing the art of patience can pay huge dividends, since we all depend on people to enhance our businesses―partners, vendors, clients and employees―and our personal lives―spouses, in-laws and children.
And yet, how often do you deliberately pause to consider the perspective of the person sitting across from you? When was the last time you used patience as an opportunity to deepen your empathy and therefore position yourself to maximize the outcome of an interpersonal interaction? Whether it's hammering out a deal with a new customer or negotiating plans for the weekend, patiently considering all perspectives before acting is a surefire way to position your endgame more strategically and effectively.
3. Reflect on past experiences.
The only downside with being patient is that you lose a few extra minutes while you think. By contrast, I bet we can all identify a situation when we were impatient and it backfired, causing us to lose far more than just a few minutes.
What's the price of impatience? More than time, it could cost money, respect, trust, all of the above or much worse. Whenever I've been impatient, it has cost me far more time and money to unwind my hurried actions than it would have cost to just sit back, let things develop, ask the right questions and gain a well-rounded perspective. The trick for me is to reflect often on those painful experiences to remind myself that a few lost minutes now are well worth any alternative scenario that being impatient might cause.
4. Get honest about your leadership limits.
It took many years of studying leadership to realize that an acute lack of patience is a significant weakness of mine. Like many of my entrepreneurial brothers and sisters, I'm a doer, which means I'm halfway into production on a minimum viable product before I've even worked out the details of my fresh idea.
Most importantly, I realized that as exciting as that rush can be, the rush is exactly what ends up hurting me in the long run. Now, I think about patience so much more than I ever used to, and just merely recognizing my impatience has allowed me to back up the metaphorical bus and triple-check my thinking before running ahead.
Now, all of that being said, I'm nowhere near becoming the wise and patient leader that I want to be―yet. But at least now when I hear the adage, "Patience is a virtue," I don't scoff at the idea.
And when you start to experience the magic of patience and how it can work wonders in your business and personal life, neither will you.