Patience and Instant Gratification

One thing that I have learned since graduating from the University of Iowa over a year ago is that my generation and those who come after us struggle with a lack of patience.

For me, patience used to mean sitting back in the batters box. In baseball I used to have a tendency to lean out or reach for a pitch, fouling off the ball and hearing my father yell from the dugout “sit back and be patient.” Having patience and watching that ball fall over itself on its way to home plate was certainly a challenge. Sitting back often seemed like an eternity, afraid that if I didn’t react to the pitch I would miss my opportunity. I constantly had to remind myself that I didn’t need to swing for the fences, but make solid contact when the ball got to me. Sure enough, those were the times when I would hit one on a line over the fence.

It turns out sitting back and being patient can pay off in more than just baseball.

Patience in the classroom.

When attending school you are used to knowing in a timely fashion the outcome of a paper, presentation, test, or what have you. But in the “real world” there is no time stamp. You may still have due dates, but they rarely align with the other businesses or customers you are working with. For four years I overlooked the fact that I was no longer being patient. That day in and day out I was participating in instant gratification.

Perhaps our professors were trying to teach us something when assigning a semester-long project where you needed to “collaborate” or “work as a team.” But let’s be honest, everyone knows that your weekly planning meetings turned into conversations about the weekend or the recent sporting event. Not until 3 weeks out did you really put your nose to the grindstone when you had that “oh shit” moment of fear over your grades.

In my opinion, patience can not be taught in a classroom. Patience is something that you learn over time, something to be acquired, something that you will learn through failure. I have found that in the real world, in business, and primarily sales — having patience and playing the waiting game is something that you need to come to terms with rather quickly. There is no such thing as INSTANT GRATIFICATION, but rather, hard work and payoffs.

Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now.

Patience in Logistics.

During my time as a Logistics Executive I was use to immediate gratification on a daily basis. My boss or peers would come to me and ask how the night went. Were there any issues, were the trucks on time, and did you and your team complete the job? — No patience necessary, everything was for the most part a yes or no, black and white answer. Not to mention I was in charge, so I always knew right where we were with our process and goals.

Few times could I really use patience in my previous job. However, when I was working with my team members I was able to watch them grow and become more comfortable with the job and process. Some picked up the process quickly, while others took a little more hand-holding to get them to the point of being efficient. But even this was not testing my patience like that of my current venture.

Patience now.

Since joining my family business and startup TreePans, I have finally had a run in with the patience I once faced on those warm nights at the ball park. I am working with cities, communities, non-profits, and other organizations trying to plan events and installations that will not occur or even be settled for months at a time. This has been quite a challenge for me.

Much like being afraid of missing the ball as it zoomed into the catchers mitt, I have been afraid that if I don’t act quickly in the business world I will miss out on valuable opportunities.

One of the worst things I do is open up my email inbox 47 times a day. Looking impatiently for a new email from a client to drop in. Hoping that “this is the one,” — forgetting momentarily that sales is not about the transaction but the relationship you build in the process.

I am reminded daily from one of my business and entrepreneurial influencers @garyvee to take your time, Hustle, 1 > 0, and that “Hard Work and Patience is key.

I understand that I will not win without work being applied day in and out. As @garyvee points out, you need to “learn to love the grind, you need to learn to be patient, and you need to learn to love the foreplay of business.”

Moving forward.

Don’t make sales, build relationships.
Take your time.
Find small wins.
Be patient
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