Our world is moving at dizzying speeds these days. Compared to even just a decade ago, information (and misinformation) now spreads at an impossible rate, and the consequences of our actions can be virtually instantaneous. The unprecedented growth in technology has accelerated our lives, the expectations people have of us, and the expectations we have of others. Where once, for example, you would have to wait 3-6 weeks for the delivery of an item ordered in a catalogue, you can now log on to www.amazon.com, order one of my books (sorry – shameless plug), and have it delivered to your doorstep in two days. It used to take 2-3 days to expedite an important document around the world. Now it takes 2-3 seconds.
It seems somewhat incongruous, then, that one of the hallmarks of successful people is patience.
Being successful in business, and in your personal life for that matter, is a gradual process. Like the farmer, you plan things out first, plant your seeds, then nurture them and watch them grow. You protect your crop, pull weeds that steal nutrients and chase critters looking for a free lunch. You let things grow at their own speed, and wait for the perfect time to begin your harvest. Then, when that time comes, you take fast, decisive action to ensure that you take best advantage of your opportunity.
The analogy works well, because like the farmer, there are many times where trying to rush things will simply lead to frustration and failure. In many situations, too much hurry can even be counter-productive. We seek promotions before we are really ready for them. We accept responsibilities we are unprepared for. We take action without understanding the consequences. We take risks with inadequate information. Then when we fail, we lose both momentum and confidence.
As you move through your career, keep this in mind. Be ambitious, but don’t be too hasty to climb the ladder. Make sure you have all the tools you need – intellectual and emotional – before you make your move to the next level. Be a student. Go to workshops; watch videos; read; listen; learn. Plan your next moves, then patiently stand watch for opportunity. Then, when the door opens, move decisively, firmly & confidently.