Couldn’t We All Use A Little More Of This One Thing In The New Year?

 

You might have thought I was referring to money, but that’s not it.Yin Yang symbol

 

While most of us welcome the free flow of cash into our small businesses, there’s something else that’s a bare essential for our success—and for our sanity. It’s often difficult to acquire and equally hard to maintain.

 

Patience.

 

I admit it; I often lack it—particularly during rare but aggravating extended periods of non-stop misfortunes, miscellaneous challenges, and mishaps. I’m guessing you’re no stranger to those streaks. None of us is immune to them.

 

I’m in the midst of one of those uncharacteristic phases now…in October, our 11-year-old boxer mix, Luna, passed away. In mid-November, we adopted a 7-month-old rescue pit bull puppy, Lulu, who is the epitome of stubbornness. A week after adopting Lulu, my husband broke his ankle, rendering me the sole dog walker, trash taker-outer, meal maker, etc. And my 90-year-old grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse, and she is on her deathbed.

 

No violin music, please. I know a lot of people are dealing with situations far more dire, but it has been challenging nonetheless.

 

And so, my patience has been put to the test. And it has failed as much or more often than it has passed.

 

When we lose our patience, our loved ones—those who give us unconditional love—are the people who typically bear the brunt of it.

 

And impatience can put a hurting on our businesses, too, if we don’t recognize its signs and make an attitude adjustment in time.

 

Potential Small Business Pitfalls From Lack of Patience

 

  • Inability to take well-meaning constructive criticism favorably
  • Sending “short” emails that have an air of annoyance
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • Difficulty thinking creatively
  • Exuding tension and frustration on calls (or in meetings) with customers
  • Impaired flexibility in accommodating the unexpected
  • Avoidance of business-building networking events

 

These side effects of impatience can kill productivity, stop growth in its tracks, and leave a bad impression on clients.

 

Unfortunately, curbing impatience doesn’t always come easily, and being in business presents more than enough adversity to wear on entrepreneurs’ tolerance.

As a small business owner, you deal with all sorts of headaches, including:

  • Employees or subcontractors who aren’t reliable.
  • Clients who have unreasonable expectations.
  • Prospects who balk at your rates and question your value.
  • Tech issues with your smart phone, website, laptop, etc.
  • Projects that don’t go according to plan.

 

So how do you find the patience to deal with all of that and more? It requires awareness and, ironically, patience with our own selves and our inability to control everything to a T.

 

I wouldn’t say it’s a New Year’s resolution per se, but as 2016 comes around the bend, I have promised myself to be more aware of and to give pause to how I react to and respond in trying times. I’ve given myself permission to exercise patience with myself in order to exhibit more patience toward others in stressful situations.

 

I wish you patience in the New Year, too, along with whatever else you have your sights set on personally and professionally.

 

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Patience: The Ultimate Entrepreneurial Virtue

As an entrepreneur launching and operating a business, you need a lot of things. Among them: a solid business concept,Waiting for the catch funds, a marketing plan, internet access…and patience. Lots and lots and lots of patience.

The need for patience permeates every aspect of starting and running a business. Small business owners need a tolerance for delay and the capacity to withstand difficulty. As a freelancer, I’ve found my patience tested regularly in ways that are likely common to most entrepreneurs.

Waiting for the ROI on networking – It would be fabulous to walk into a mixer and walk out 2 hours later with 5 (or even 1) solid lead that you’re quite sure will convert to a signed proposal. The reality is it just doesn’t work that way. It can take months, sometimes years of repeat exposure at networking events and on social media to build trust and establish relationships that transform into referrals and contracts. But don’t give up! Patience pays because after the ball gets rolling, it builds momentum, and networking gets easier and yields greater results. Think of your networking time (online and offline) as an investment that’s building interest with each and every interaction.

Just sign on the dotted line, would you? – On occasion, you’ll find yourself courting a prospect longer than the Amish require before their folk can get married [a comparison that stems from my residency in Lancaster County, PA ;)]. You promptly submit a proposal…and then find yourself waiting. People are busy and budgets are tight. Sometimes it takes a long time before a client decides to move forward because of other priorities. Sometimes they decide not to move at all because of reasons beyond your control. Without a doubt, you need patience in situations like these. As you’re waiting for “yea” or “nay”, keep yourself top of mind in subtle ways that show your interest, but that don’t make you appear pushy. Interact with prospects via social media by sharing, liking and commenting on their posts and, at appropriate intervals, send emails to check on the progress of decision-making and to reinforce that you’re available to field questions.

As with any other core competency, building patience as a professional strength is easier for some entrepreneurs than others. Whether it’s inherent in your genetic makeup or not, it is a quality worth developing and exercising. Without patience, you’re left with frustration. Which do you think is the better choice for your business model?

Your turn to weigh in! How has your patience been tried as an entrepreneur? What tips can you share for maintaining patience when you want immediate results?


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