Episode 26: Having Patience in an Inpatient World
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Hi. I'm Victoria Hefty, and welcome to Active Purpose, where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. In today's episode, I'm sharing why I think having patience is an increasingly undervalued skill and virtue in today's impatient world. I'll share why patience and ambition don't always seem to go hand-in-hand but do, in fact, complement each other quite nicely.
Today's episode will be a little short, but I decided to go ahead and record it because it's something I've been thinking about the last few days. As many of you know, I've talked in the last couple of episodes, I do have an infant who, at the moment, is currently wrapped up very nicely in a baby wrap on me, so if you hear gentle snoring or baby cooing in the background, that is her, but like I said, this is a show about balancing motherhood and career and fun stuff like podcasts, so I hope you understand.
Back to today's episode. I want to talk about why I've been thinking about why it's important to be patient. This really all was sparked with kind of like an eye-opening conversation I had last week. That was the inspiration for today's episode. Let's begin.
As I mentioned, last week, I was having this great conversation with this woman that is very accomplished. She's a very accomplished rising executive in her field, but she was really struggling with what her future career options looked like. She was debating whether to stay at her traditional corporate firm and likely get a big promotion or pack it up, start her own company, and pursue her passion.
At one point, I asked her, "Well, why do you want to start your own company?" To paraphrase, she basically said that there was this successful businessman that she knew and respected, and they were having a conversation about her future goals. This man basically said, "You're smart and talented," which she is, "and you don't need to work for any company. You should be on this side of the business where you're doing it by yourself or running your own company." According to this business person, there was plenty of money to be made in this industry if she left the company and started her own thing.
Now, on the surface, that seems like a reasonable reason to quit your job, but the more I pushed her on the, quote-unquote, "why," like why do you want to do this, what's your motivation, and more importantly, why did you feel that she needed to abruptly quit her job, she did admit that part of the problem was she was feeling impatient, like she had to quit now because there was this unknown race to succeed, even though she didn't know what she wanted to actually do. That's when I understood what the underlying issue was.
In a world filled with people, like, right ... I feel like I've seen this over the last just even week, selling programs like 60 Days to Six Figures or How to Start Your Business in 30 Days, you know the drill, Seven Days to Success, it's easy to feel like you have to jump right in and just hope for the best, that whatever you do, you're going to jump right on, take one online course, and bam. You'll just be rolling in money and have a hugely successful business.
But we all know that that doesn't happen, and yet, we fall for it, so why? I don't ... I guess the struggle is, the vast majority of people understand that it does take a little bit of patience to succeed, but we're jumping on these programs that promise us something more. Entrepreneurship is beyond difficult, and I feel like whether you call it social media, really, just the media in general, they often sugarcoat what it takes to actually succeed. Entrepreneurship aside, I think that's the same for if you were to stay within just traditional business. There's this sense of all you have to do is grab a mentor, go in and ask for a couple of things, and bam, next thing you know, you're CEO of a company. It just doesn't work that way.
What I told this woman was that unless she had this strong burning desire to leave her company and she had a very clear vision of what she wanted, she may not have the execution part done, but it'd be one thing if she knew what she wanted to do, she had a vision, and it was waking her up every day or bothering her every morning, maybe then it may make sense to quit abruptly. But if you don't have that and it's frankly being driven by external feedback rather than an internal drive, she really need to give it a second thought.
I told her maybe it makes sense that she should set a goal of leaving her company in one year, maybe even two years, and then use that time during that year leading up to that deadline to figure out what type of company she wants. Start building relationships with some of these potential clients for figuring out how she's going to make money. If it's a business, you do need money. How are you going to create revenue? Take the time to fill in any skill gaps that she may feel like she's lacking. Unless it's a business that is directly using every skill that she has had in her previous experiences, she probably needs to close some sort of skills gap, so why not do that while you still have full-time income coming in?
Better yet, why not save money during that year so that when you do leave, you can be better-prepared if your business doesn't take off right away, which, again, for the vast majority of businesses do not make money for the first couple months, couple years. It's really, really hard being a creative, which is what she is and wants to be full time whenever she does leave. It's hard to be creative when you're stressed about having to pay your mortgage or your rent. It's just the fact.
For some people, I think, we always say those situations spark creativity, but I don't think that's true. I think when people, like dire situations call for creativity, that's not true. I think people panic, and they just grab and whatever they can do, and they get sloppy. It's a different sense of freedom, quote-unquote, "freedom," than when you know that you are while may not be perfect, you've done the things that you need to do to have a little bit of breathing room while you figure things out creativity.
After we talked, I shared a quote that I remember that nicely summed up my philosophy in situations like this. This also applies to me. The quote is attributed to Joyce Meyer, but with the Internet, I don't know if she actually said it or not, but that's what Google says, so I'm going with it. The quote says, "Patience is not simply the ability to wait. It's how we behave while we're waiting." I'll say it again. "Patience is not simply the ability to wait. It's how we behave while we're waiting." I think this philosophy will help a lot of people that feel like they need to rush to achieve their goals, especially their professional goals. There is a way to be strategic while pursuing your passion or your creative goals.
In fact, if you look at a lot of very famous business people behind the sort of what I call insta-millionaires that Silicon Valley seemed to create overnight, you'll find that a lot of these successful people kept their regular jobs as long as they could before they pursued these different career paths.
What I'll do is in the show notes, I'll include links that will give you, or links to articles that will share multiple examples of how people, for example, like Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, Daymond John, he's one of the Shark Tank judges, founder of Fubu, and Paul Smith. My husband's actual, his favorite menswear designer, all of them and many more all had side or even full-time jobs while they laid the foundation for their businesses. For example, Paul Smith, his first clothing store was only open, I love this fact, was only open on Fridays and Saturdays. The other five days of the week he worked a range of freelance jobs to pay the bills. You rarely hear about that anymore, but people are doing that. They just don't talk about it.
Like I said, so I think people nowadays greatly undervalue the discipline and time it takes to create something meaningful. The truth is that there are no shortcuts, and patience will serve you well in the long run. There's one caveat though. Don't let patience be an excuse for inaction. What do I mean by that? Well, I think, again, a lot of people, especially in corporate, that's my background, think they are patiently working to prove themselves worthy of a promotion when, in fact, the promotion may never come because of a difficult manager or a toxic company culture. In those instances, it's probably important to recognize that being patient isn't the answer. When I say being patient will serve you well in the long run, I simply mean that you can have a long or even near-term goal that you work diligently at every day because you have the patience and wisdom to know that you're creating something that is real and not just full of hype.
Another way that patience can be an excuse for inaction is when you have put in the time and effort, but you're still waiting for the, quote-unquote, "right time" to take the leap. The truth is, you probably won't ever truly feel like it's the right time to do something if that something is outside of your comfort zone, and I guarantee you, it probably is or you would've done it. Make sure you're not waiting for someone to validate your worth before you take that next step, which brings us to today's challenge.
My challenge for you is to think about a short-term goal that you have or maybe something exciting that you would like to do in the near-term. Maybe you've even started rushing in, like this woman, you're thinking about quitting your job in a couple of days to pursue it, but before you do that, wait, wait, wait, wait, take a step back.
Ask yourself, what would it mean to be patient while still actively pursuing this goal? Would it mean taking the time to line up some informational interviews with people that are actually doing what you want to do to explore other aspects of this goal that maybe you haven't thought about? Would it mean taking the time to sign up for an online course that would close a skills gap that you need, not that it'll get you six figures in 60 days but that will really address something that you may be lacking that this new either job or company that you want to create will require. Will it mean saving up a little bit more money so that you can continue to focus on being creative once you do leave your job? What would patience mean? I think you may be surprised to learn that having ambition nicely pairs with having patience.
As always, thank you for allowing me to spend time with you. If you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll include links to the articles I mentioned in the show notes at activatepurpose.com/episode26. Finally, if you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to leave a review and subscribe to the next episode.
Until next time. Bye!