If patience is a virtue, it’s one I’ve only recently begun to embrace. Up until recently, I was a proud card-carrying, type-A lady – a bit high strung, and antsy to have everything done right away (and certainly “on time,” whatever that means).
I took this approach too, as I tried to become an entrepreneur, and the consequences of that approach made me reconsider my whole outlook on life.
The consequences of impatience
Impatience happens when you’re convinced you’re not where you should be. You’re embarrassed or ashamed or straight up pissed off about not being as far along as you hoped. And you know what all that does?
It makes you desperate.
When you’re desperate, you’re terrified to make the wrong decision. You weigh your options ad nauseum because choosing “incorrectly” would mean you wasted more time, didn’t make as much money, or lost out on something, and you got NO TIME for that nonsense – you’re already behind!
And speaking of money, if that’s what you’re impatient for (whether you’re open to admitting that to yourself or not), when you’re desperate and impatient, you’ll make all your decisions from a place of “how can I make the most money the fastest?” I’m not saying that’s always bad. Sometimes, hustling like that for an explicit purpose can be good (I did it when I first quit my job, but quickly shifted to something else).
But, if you’re scared about not making enough money, you won’t make decisions that even consider what you REALLY want (because what you REALLY want is NOT MONEY… NO ONE WANTS MONEY, EVER.).
Here’s what else impatience does…
It zaps all your resourcefulness and makes you uber-victimy.
When you’re impatient for having “it” yesterday, all you can think about is everything you don’t have.
- I don’t have an office.
- I don’t have a slick website.
- don’t have a stack of business cards (<– I’ve actually heard this as a reason for not moving forward. Please don’t be this person.)
- Even bigger things like, I don’t have any time/money/experience/technology skills.
These are ALL excuses, and with all the love in my heart, I’m telling you they all suck. Period. They suck. If you’re so hung up on all the things you don’t have, you will NEVER see the opportunities, resources, and creative solutions that you DO have.
If you want the thing you are so insanely impatient to have, you will hustle your ass off to make it happen if that’s what it takes. You will take client calls in your car, parked in the garage, at 6:30 in the morning because it’s the only place and time that’s quiet, and your clients are thankfully a few time zones ahead of you (ahem, real story from yours truly… I still have to do this sometimes!).
And one more thing impatience makes you do…
It makes you not start where you are.
When you fail to acknowledge your starting point, you are headed for Disappointment City via Overwhelm Highway. Why?
Because you are so busy imagining and wishing you were somewhere else that you fail to realize where you are right this minute and take meaningful action based on that spot.
If the guy in charge of putting the mile marker signs up for marathons put up the Mile 26 sign at mile 18, you’d have a lot of runners picking up their pace WAY too early. They’d think they only have that last .2 miles to go, run way too fast, get exhausted, and eventually, get really pissed about actually having EIGHT more miles to go.
Problem is, the only one playing switcheroo with your mile marker signs is YOU. Impatience makes you lie to yourself about where you are, which in turn makes you react in not-right-for-this-particular-moment kinda ways.
(Also, I will never ever make a running analogy again because, ohmygoodness do I despise running.)
Wait, so am I knocking really, REALLY wanting something?
(In fact, if you don’t have an insane fire in yo’ belly, please reevaluate your pursuit of whatever it is we’re discussing here.)
Replace your impatience with HUNGER
When you’re really hungry and really wanting food (a topic I know far more about than running), you don’t stare at a plate of food and get pissed off that it’s not already inside your stomach. You undoubtedly know someone though who has exclaimed some obscenity about their voracious appetite, opened the fridge (which is full of food), and heard them slam it shut with mumblings of “there’s nothing good to eat.” Do not be a hungry victim.
So what’s the takeaway? When you’re hungry, you recognize where you are, and you realize YOU have to do something to fix the situation. There are numerous ways to alleviate your hunger (take-out, microwave dinner, going all Martha Stewart in the kitchen, etc.), and each of them has different pros and cons, but the impetus is still on you to take some form of action based on the result you really want (i.e. heart-attack-inducing meal vs. healthy stuff that tastes awesome and makes you feel good). Even Jimmy John’s commercials acknowledge that you have to at least call them before they can deliver their “freaky fast food.”
You cannot WISH your hunger away. Sitting on your butt and waiting (for a miracle) will not put the food in your stomach. Wallowing in “why do I have to be so hungry?” feelings will not change your situation.
Once you know what you want, it’s easier to work backwards and devise a plan. And bite-by-bite, step-by-step your hunger leads to progress and the satisfaction of knowing that you took care of yourself, got what you wanted, and can do it all again whenever you need to.