How to Be More Patient (For Impatient People)


I’ll be the first to admit:

I’m impatient.

Is this good or bad? (especially as an entrepreneur)

The answer might surprise you…

First, let’s make one thing clear:

When I have an idea for a new video, I want it filmed.

YESTERDAY.

If I need a graphic for a new article, I’ll give my designer exactly 27 seconds to find the perfect image.

(Sorry, Craig.)

So, yeah.

Patience is not my biggest virtue 😉

Now here’s the thing:

In one way, my impatience helped me build my business FAST.

However…

I also learned an important lesson over the years.

Sometimes being impatient is good for business. Sometimes being impatient is bad for business.

The secret is knowing the difference.

I’ll explain.

The Art of Being More Patient

My friend Ryan Holiday recently told me a great story about the art of being more patient…

Ryan had just published an article on Tim Ferriss’ blog – and it went viral.

Shortly after, a publisher emailed him:

“Let’s turn this into a book!”

The book offer would have been a dream come true for most writers – as it was for Ryan.

He turned it down anyway.

But why?

Well…

One of Ryan’s mentors, Robert Greene, suggested to turn the offer down:

“[Robert] said that I was still learning and improving as a writer—that my life experiences were accelerating and that the book would be better each day I waited.”

Wow.

Being patient is tough when a big opportunity like this is staring you in the face. And yet, Ryan followed the advice:

5 years later, he published The Obstacle is the Way. Ryan says he owes the book’s success to this lesson in patience.

(I think about this whenever I think about writing a book myself. When I do it, I want to do it right.)

The lesson is:

Sometimes it’s better to wait.

But being patient is not easy.

It takes a lot to wait for the right opportunity.

Of course, it matters what you do while you wait…

Why You Should Be Patient in Business

If you look up “patience” in the dictionary you’ll find this:

“Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

Notice how part of the definition of impatience is “getting angry” – NOT a good move in business.

So, as impatient as I am…

I believe patience is an important entrepreneurial skill.

Jeff Bezos, now the richest person in the world, agrees:

“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”

Amazon was patient. Other businesses failed because they were impatient:

WebVan, for example.

WebVan was a grocery delivery service in the 90s.

They raised $800 million because they wanted to “grow big fast.”

But they moved too quickly…

They built up a massive overhead, burned through the cash, and ultimately collapsed.

Why You Should Be a Patient Leader

Being patient is also important when you have employees.

Leadership coaches here and here agree that being impatient is bad for motivation and productivity.

Here are the main reasons leaders should be patient:

  • Being impatient can be seen as disrespectful.
  • Constantly telling people to “Hurry up!” hurts their productivity (it creates fear and frustration).
  • Patience inspires a positive attitude and helps everyone see the big picture (important in difficult times when everyone is extra stressed out).

And by the way…

If you’re an employee, you should be more patient, too. This study showed that impatient people think less effectively and give up to soon.

With that said, I know first hand that being patient is hard.

Especially when you run a business.

Why Is Patience So Hard for Entrepreneurs?

I remember when I started my first blog.

This is before Social Triggers. Even way before I launched my first successful blog in the celebrity-niche back in the early 2000s.

Anyway…

I read an article about how to make money online.

I read how people were making $10,000 a month with ads.

Immediately, I thought:

“I can do that, too!”

And I was impatient…

I wanted to make $10,000.. STAT.

The problem?

I was so impatient, I took the wrong shortcut.

I’ll explain.

I quickly put up a blog and fired off emails asking people to promote my blog.

I didn’t know them. I had nothing to offer. I was just getting started. And the response I got was exactly what you’d expect:

Crickets.

Why?

Because, in this instance, I was too impatient.

I took a shortcut. But I left out some essential steps.

The thing is:

I knew what the steps were.

I knew I would have been more successful if I followed all the steps. But I was TOO impatient. Does this sound familiar?

Have you ever started a project, but you were too impatient to DO IT RIGHT? So you cut out crucial steps… and it blew up in your face?

Do You Suffer from “OSD?”

I call this OSD.

Obsessive Shortcut Disorder.

OSD means:

You’re cutting out important steps because you’re too impatient.

It’s a problem.

For example, if you’re creating a sales funnel, it’s a bad idea to cut out crucial steps from the sales process.

I know you want to launch ASAP.

Still, you shouldn’t cut important emails from your funnel.

Just because you’re impatient, you shouldn’t pitch your offer to someone who’s got no idea who you are. You’ll just annoy them. And you’ll lose a potential customer that will never come back.

Or, as another example… Don’t write a short, non-descriptive sales page, just because you’re too impatient to do it right.

Never take a shortcut if it means leaving out crucial steps. Trust me, in the long run you’ll pay for it. In time, in money, and in nerves.

Luckily, I had learned this lesson when I launched Social Triggers.

I was more patient.

I built my audience for almost a year before I sold anything. And my first launch was a big success.

That’s usually how it goes when you’re patient and trust the process. I see it all the time. The people who are patient AND work hard always get there.

Look at this:

AJ launched a software company.

In 2 years he made $100,000.

But notice how “80% came in the last 9mos.” Just to give you a visual, here’s what that looks like (without knowing the actual numbers):

16 months with barely any revenue. But with patience and persistence, 9 months later it’s a real business.

These are all examples where being patient is important for success.

But remember how I said there are times when NOT being patient helps?

So the question is:

When is it good to be IMPATIENT?

Here’s my experience…

When Should You Be Impatient? There Are Only TWO Good Reasons…

I already showed you how successful people are patient in the long-term.

But sometimes it’s better to be impatient.

Specifically, there are TWO reasons to be impatient.

I’ll explain.

Reason #1: Impatience is a GOOD thing whenever “be patient” is just an excuse for not getting sh*t done.

Yeah, you want to be patient.

That doesn’t mean you should take the long way on purpose.

I talk about it in this video: