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The Virtues of Patience in Business & in Life
The proverbial phase,
patience is a virtue, which refers to one of the seven heavenly virtues, is
said to date back to the early 5th century and for most, it is
something that we have been told from an early age. Practicing patience, however, is a skill that
is learned. A good way to put it is in
the words of author Ray. A. Davis, ‘’Patience is not passive waiting. Patience
is active acceptance of the process required to attain your goals and
dreams.’’ In business as in life,
knowing when to act and knowing when to wait can be the difference between life
The practice of patience, through dealing with life’s twists and turns, will happen naturally to some extent. It can also be acquired through the lessons learned from situations where one’s impulsive or impatient decisions resulted in a negative outcome. ‘’Next time I’ll know better than to…’’ is sometimes a thing that is easier said than done.
It is the Mastery patience that one must strive to achieve. Being able to delay the gratification of a moment for the true reward for waiting for what we really want is a key attribute of successful business men and women. Lacking patience creates anger and frustration, which in turn fosters sentiments of wanting to abandon a given project. Quitting to start over again…and again…and again, a never ending pattern. My father always told me, “The short way is the long way and the long way is the short way.’’ I think most times, if we listen to our inner voice, we know if we are being rash, or trying to create a short-cut that ultimately will bring us further from our desired outcome. (Crash diets, miracle formulas to financial freedom or anything that promises to curtail the learning process to anything, rarely produce results that are long lasting, if they produce any results at all.) The key is to know how to listen to that inner voice…stop…breathe…focus on the end result. When you know your WHY, your HOW becomes clearer, is what one of my mentors tells me. So when your How is clear, it’s easier to accept being patient…because you have a plan.
When it comes to goals, whether strategic, business or personal/interpersonal, having clearly defined realistic goals set out with a time line/deadline in which to achieve them, will greatly increase your chance of being patient. It is key to track your progress (or lack of) regularly. Each step along the way, however little, becomes a positive reward. Readjusting your sight on the target, building motivation and correcting whatever isn’t working is also a part of the process. Patience alone won’t guarantee success, however having a plan, working hard AND being patient is the true recipe for success. A characteristic that often sets successful people apart from the rest is the ability to be comfortable being in an uncomfortable situation. ‘’Knowing ‘’ that you’ll get through this because you believe in your goal and in your skills to make it happen, and that quitting is just not an option.
‘’Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.’’ – Frances de Sales.
When I first started in real estate, I would look up to and compare myself with a certain Real Estate broker team in the area where I was working. They were No. 1, and had been for years and had a complete monopoly in that particular market. They were the benchmark that I was aiming for. My efforts and dedication were on par with what needed to be done, however my results (in which I aimed to surpass them) were not. I remember a time where this ``lack of success`` weighed on me and I was looking for a better way. Once again, I consulted with my mentor, Michel, to find a solution. They say patience is the companion of wisdom and fortunately for me, Michel was both wise and patient…especially with me. I was going on and on about how I was working harder than ‘’them’, how my publicity was sharper than theirs, how my service was better etc, etc. and yet they were still beating me. That’s when he said to me, ‘’Hey, kid…stop comparing yourself to them, they’ve been around for twenty five years, and as far as I’m concerned, they have been doing the same thing for the last twenty. You have been in the business for 3-4 years, and you’re improving and innovating ALL THE TIME. Start comparing yourself to yourself… that’s who you need to beat.’’ He continued on by telling me that there are things that are out of my control, like the time it takes to build a business or a reputation.
To which I thought I was being smart when I answered him, ‘’Yeah, but that’s my problem. I’m a control freak; I want to control everything.’’
His answer was gold.
‘’You want to control everything? Start by controlling yourself!’’
I remember smiling and then bowing my head as I looked into my coffee cup…‘’Don’t be so hard on yourself kid, you’re doing great, just be patient.’’
That was about 8 years ago and it seems like it was yesterday. My team and I have by far surpassed my “competitors’’ of the time and I know that Michel would be proud and nonchalantly say ‘’I told you so.”
The lesson learned is that in the end, my only competitor is the face I see in the mirror. Today I do not see those who have attained a level of success that I am aiming for as competitors, but rather as a source of motivation and inspiration. Patience brings hope. Hope for the outcome you are aiming for. The ability to keep moving forward (2015) the motivation to make it happen (2016). The knowledge that delay is not defeat.
Thomas Edison said, ‘’Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.’’
Whether in buying or selling real estate, building your business or your career, your health or your heart, being patient for the right opportunity and being realistic with your timeframe will increase your chance of success. There can be a thin line between remaining idle and acting too quickly. I find it invaluable to consult with others when dealing with any situations that put my patience to the test. An objective, exterior point of view from an expert in the field, or a ‘’tell it as it is’’ honest opinion from a trusted friend can sometimes help you keep you from yourself!
I believe that in the end, a harmony between what you feel and what you know will always be your best guide to slowly but surely get you to where you want to be.
For any comments or questions on this article and for more material from Sebastien Sperano, please visit our Facebook page: Sebastiens Sperano From the Broker’s Desk- Du Bureau Du Broker.
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