One of the most frustrating parts for me about running my own business, and really if I’m honest, life in general, is how long things take. I’m the type of person who zooms off like a rocket after the word “go.” Coming from my journalism background, I’m used to ceaseless deadlines and a swift pace. When I contact someone for an interview, we speak soon and the story moves ahead. Or if the person doesn’t respond to my interview request, I write the article anyway without comments from them. Regardless, the story is going live at a certain day and time.
Now that I’m mostly out of the journalism world and writing for small businesses, everything moves much slower. If someone indicates interest in working together, we could spend weeks going back and forth about the details. When I turn in a blog to a client, unlike with a news article, there’s no rush. The blog may not go live for weeks or perhaps months. People take their time because they can. This is a complete reversal from how I used to operate and it’s a huge adjustment. That’s a polite way of saying it bugs the heck out of me. I’m probably not supposed to admit that, but it’s the truth. I realize I can’t control or change other people, I can only manage myself. I’m the one who’s impatient and has certain expectations. And that means I’m the one who has to adjust.
Thus far, I think about advice I heard ages ago: However long you think something will take, double it. For me, I think I need to triple it. That way when a project takes significantly longer than it “should,” I won’t get as bent out of shape because I modulated my expectations. Problem solved! Sort of.
The reality behind impatience for me is I’m a compulsive doer. It feels better/safer/more gratifying to act all the time. It’s hard to slow down. And where I live, hustling is prized. We admire people who work hard, who do a lot. I haven’t seen an award for sitting around all day listening to the birds. I haven’t read any newspaper articles about a person who went for a walk and made a cup of tea later. No. We want achievement. We want people who are doing extraordinary things. Given that atmosphere, it can be hard to sit back and twiddle your thumbs, but inevitably there comes a time when everyone just has to wait. A time when things are not moving. Even in the news room there were days we really didn’t have anything to write about. Or at the very least, we couldn’t write an article because we were waiting on more information.
What’s helping me adjust to a new sort of timing is thinking about surrender. Surrender means to stop fighting. How can I stop fighting the reality of slow business sometimes? How can I work with it? How can I embrace that there will be days I won’t have anything to do? That sometimes my hands are tied? Instead of rushing into action, or creating work for myself, I can relax, let go, and trust that everything has its own timing. Everything has its own flow. Including business. And while I’m waiting, I can listen to the birds chirp, go for a walk, and make myself a cup of tea.
What about you? How do you cope with waiting? Let me know in the comments below.