Patience is a virtue in business

Everything happens fast in today’s business world, which exists in the age of pretty much instant everything. To keep up with the competition, a company has to hustle to provide super quick responses and rapid delivery. We’re told, as children, that patience is a virtue; however, no one ever really shows us how to be patient. Many of us have to work at cultivating this trait.

Building and sustaining a business is fraught with challenges. I’ve often laughed at the saying, “I’m praying for patience and I want it right now!” But recently, while working through our company’s store remodel, I decided that patience is not my strong suit. Trying to make changes during a company’s busiest time is challenging enough, but when coupled with delays that are out of your control and deadlines that have to be met, you quickly learn that impatience can create more challenges. My mother, who was a model of patience, used to tell me, “All good things take time.” She was an entrepreneur before many women were part of the business world. She always taught me that nothing of value comes easily. It takes time and patience to develop the skills needed to build and grow a business.

Some business owners and managers, with little or no patience, may have the tendency to quickly evaluate situations and immediately act on them. This can work well about as often as it can backfire. Jumping into action without taking time to study the good and the not-so-good, or taking time to consider unexpected obstacles, can lead to remorseful results.

How do we know when we’re being impatient? My business coach friend suggests that we might exhibit one or more of the following:

  • Shallow breathing;
  • Muscle tension;
  • Hand clenching/tightening;
  • Restless feet/constantly moving legs;
  • Anger and/or irritability;
  • Nervousness and/or anxiety;
  • Rushing and/or pushing forward; and
  • Quick/snap decisions.

She suggests you should try to identify the triggers that make you impatient. This can help you find strategies to avoid becoming impatient, which can include:

  • Taking deep, slow breaths for a count of 10;
  • Focus on relaxing;
  • Be mindful of what is making you impatient;
  • Learn to manage your emotions;
  • Force yourself to slow down, speak, and move more slowly;
  • Make yourself wait;
  • Stop doing things that aren’t important;
  • Give others a chance to manage; and
  • Use the saying, “Stay calm and move forward.”

Experts tell us that patience helps us to make better decisions in business and in life. When we take the time to actually think about something, we may come to a better solution. Having patience allows us to react more calmly when faced with frustration or adversity.

We may live in a business world that values quick thinking and action. However, even when “time is of the essence,” we should remember that patience, especially in business, is truly a virtue.

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