Submitted by Samantha Johnson
“Patience in business”, like the old adage ‘patience is a virtue’, holds tremendous significance in the professional context, especially if you are engaged in entrepreneurial ventures or projects.
Because if you are in it for the long-run, you build up a community, a brand, a legacy. And no matter how great your product or service is, you need to create a sense of commitment and responsibility that only comes with sustained effort, over a long period of time.
At times, you have to let go and trust the process. Patience in business helps you with this. Warren Buffet didn’t become the business magnate and investor that he is by selling every time he thought he’d get profits. His wealth is partially a result of his patience to stay invested in projects for the long run.
The point is simple: In order to achieve success in any endeavour, patience is a crucial ingredient.
In this era of instant gratification, we talk about the hustle of running a successful business, we talk about achievements, milestones and cash flows. But not many people tell you about the years of hard work that went into those milestones and the patience it took to believe in the idea and let it blossom!
Patience might be an underrated quality in business, but it is a valuable one. Here’re 6 practical ways you can use to help you inculcate more of it.
1. Learn to say ‘No’ as you wait for the right opportunities
The power of saying ‘No’ is a tool in your hand. You will constantly be inundated with more choices than you can pursue, more projects than are feasible and more goals than you can work towards.
It is absolutely imperative to prioritise, set solid goals and then say “no” to things that don’t contribute to the goal. In fact, saying “no” is advised to keep you focused on your goals. It establishes boundaries, of course, but one subtle yet positive side-effect of this exercise is that you now have space for the right opportunities.
By keeping clutter out of your schedule, you are able to make space for the actions, resources or opportunities that will help you reach your goals. It inculcates the necessary patience in business to trust the process and wait for the right things, rather than settling in for the mediocre.
2. Accept calculated challenges
There is nothing more challenging than taking a risk and then waiting for it to pay off.
Therefore, the best way to practice patience in your professional life is by consciously waiting for things. Research shows that the longer you wait to accomplish something, the happier you become in the long run. Haste makes waste, as they say.
If you are planning to launch a product, do not just dive recklessly into the process. Take your time. Reflect on past experiences and find joy in the journey rather than the destination. If you equate achievement with happiness, you will never enjoy working on the project. So savour the moment of creation before your product goes out!
3. Take the business patience challenge
For some time now, experts have been talking about the best ways to learn patience.
Patience, even patience in business is not a hard skill to learn. For example, you can learn it by practising little changes in your everyday life.
Check these few activities that can help you cultivate patience:
1. letting the microwave beep all the way
2. keeping your meal times sacred without any books, devices, music or internet
3. establishing a night routine without your phones
4. reading complete articles instead of skimming
5. now you can add some activities of your own…
4. Grow sustainably as a leader for patience in business
In the rat race of any business set-up, it is very easy to be distracted by what your competitors or partners are doing.
You might want to launch a big project because you want to be the first one to do that. But remember that if you launch a product that isn’t prepared fully, you will earn many negative reviews even before your product is allowed to grow or be established.
Leadership expert Robin Sharma once remarked:
Success and winning take time. Greatness incubates. Percolates. Like a good cup of Columbian coffee. Drip by drip you eventually arrive at perfection.
Therefore, let the team build the product. Let the product go through meticulous tests and only launch it once all edges have been smoothened. Make mistakes, learn from them and use those experiences to guide you in the future.
5. Look before you leap: Say goodbye to impulsive decision making
Ultimately, all of these things boil down to a simple point: Do not make decisions in haste.
Don’t be in a hurry to get a project going or to hire people just because there are vacancies to be filled. When you do, you might end up with resources and employees who do not perform at par with your expectations.
Keep looking until you find the pieces that actually fit in the puzzle, not complicate it further.
Also, be mindful during the decision-making process. Be mindful of the various perspectives you might miss if you were acting on a whim. Be mindful that you are working with and dealing with human beings with emotion. And take care that your interpersonal interactions should all be driven by empathy.
Focus on the things that actually matter. Be responsible and attentive to the needs of your business. Simply, ask this question every time: “Do I have a good reason for the action I am planning to take?”
6. Engage in meditative exercises to develop patience in Business
Talking of mindfulness brings us to the most actionable thing for patience in business – engaging in meditative exercises.
Whether it is yoga, mindful breathing, compassion meditation – make your choice. But you should know, patience is one of the pillars of mindfulness.
A plethora of research is being carried out that provides evidence on how practising mindfulness actively can create an environment conducive for good mental health.
Pause often, breathe, reflect on your day, look for silver linings and believe in the effort you are putting in!
As a Project Manager at office.eco, Samantha Johnson plans, builds and oversees projects. She is all-too-aware of the persistence and patience needed to create a successful business as she meticulously steers the company’s budgets, resources and progress!