The reality that God teaches us patience looms over our lives in all facets. From dealing with illness to waiting for the right potential spouse to come along to advancing one’s career, nothing happens overnight. It’s something we all learn and then re-learn — and it’s something that starting a business enterprise will teach as you well, as I’m currently in the process of learning.
Back in December, I wrote about starting a career as a freelance writer in general, and a sports website in particular. It was a big step out, something that was one significant piece of a series of other life changes going on simultaneously. Deep down I knew it would take time and that success had to be measured by progress, not whether I had reached what I considered to be the destination.
By those standards the venture is a success. There’s been increased work in the freelance area and my own site’s traffic has grown steadily since the launch, including some high-traffic times at the peak moments of the sports calendar, such as March Madness. The products I’ve advertised have started to sell and networking possibilities have opened up.
But I’m still impatient.
Just as the planting of a seed in a cornfield does not mean the crop shows up the next day or even the next month, so too does planting the seeds in any other area of life require patience (there’s that word again) in allowing things to develop.
I spoke to numerous people in different businesses, some freelance, like myself, others in service areas, others in heavier industry and the message was always the same: It take times. The timetables cited by people varied based on the nature of their business and the level of expectation I was asking about, but the universal reality cited was that it took time to develop business activity, further time for that activity to translate into revenue and still further for it to become well established.
Even when the well-established threshold has been reached, danger can lurk. The most financially successful businessman I spoke to advised that the one time his business became really vulnerable was when they got to a comfort level after five years. The sense of urgency was lost by the top management and that trickled into the entire organization. When the final profit-loss figures came in for the year, it was the worst ever.
As a sportswriter, I see the world through sports analogies — indeed, had I been one of the people Christ encountered in the Gospels, I’m quite certain a parable about the long baseball season or the demanding NBA playoff road might have made its way into a biblical lesson about patience. And when it comes to the sense of urgency it’s no different.
It’s difficult to achieve anything truly worthwhile in life, and as a result we often need motivating factors. I write this in the midst of the NBA postseason, with the Miami Heat trying to win a championship. This is a team that’s mostly young, extremely talented, but the majority of its top players haven’t been to the mountaintop in their sport. Two years ago, after a pair of highly publicized free agent signings, an extravagant press conference was held, unveiling the new players in a way that virtually guaranteed a title and was certain to provoke the opposition.
Why do such a thing?
Perhaps it was to instigate the sense of urgency. Players who have talent but not championship pedigree might be inclined to lose the ability to push through nagging injuries or the day-to-day mental focus it requires…unless they know the world is waiting for them to fail.
Most of us are not in position to do such dramatic things to provoke our own sense of urgency, and I’m one of the many who think even the Heat got carried away. But I understand what the team leadership was trying to do, and it’s something that was necessary for me. I’ve blogged and written for 11 years in various capacities prior to launching my own website. I could post as I pleased, and if I wanted to take a summer off, that was fine. Once I put up several thousand dollars into building a site, that was no longer the case. The sense of urgency was established.
I’ve written of two contrasting emotional states in this article, both the need for patience and the need for urgency, and finding the balance between the two is necessary. The necessary urgency to keep the work moving forward each day is imperative, and whatever means are needed to establish that must be undertaken. The patience to let things bear fruit in their own season must also be cultivated. Learning one of these is a task. Learning two is a full-time gig.
All of this has correlation to the single life. If you’re casual about the process of putting yourself out there, nothing will get done. Conversely, if you lose patience you miss the chance for something special to develop. It takes time for search profiles and the sending of emotigrams and quick, simple introductory messages to bear fruit in more extended correspondence. And for that to translate into phone conversations and dates. Which then must turn into the growing of two lives into one.
It requires patience but requires the urgency that pushes you to daily action. When you want the end result badly enough, the work will be put in.