In my last post, I talked about how business can be like the moon in that it ebbs and flows. Related to that concept is patience because patience is required during the ebb periods, at least for me. And as much as I’d like to say patience comes easily for me, it does not. I forever want things on my timeline. And usually I want that thing yesterday. “You want me to wait? For an unknown length of time for something I really, really want?” That’s my version of hell.
However, waiting is also a fact of life. That’s what it means to live in this 3D physical world. Seeds take time to sprout. Babies take time to grow. And less tangible things like a business also have their own timeline.
As an Oakland freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter, I spend a lot of my day waiting. Waiting for a blog topic. Waiting for revisions. Waiting for an email or a phone call. And yet, even though it doesn’t move at the speed I prefer, everything gets done.
As Lao Tzu says, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” That’s true in business as well. If something isn’t happening yet, maybe it’s not supposed to happen yet. I can’t tell you how many times the universe just seems to know when I’m available for a new client and when I’m not. For instance, just this week an editor reached out to me and asked if I was available for a journalism writing assignment and I was. If he’d asked last week, the answer would have been no. That may seem like nothing to other people, but for me, I view that as something magical and mysterious.
It may seem strange for me to quote from Richard Tarnas‘ book Cosmos and Psyche here but I think it’s relevant. He posits two ways of grappling with the universe and uses the analogy of two suitors to explain them. In the first approach, the suitor treats the universe as if it has no intelligence and is something to be exploited for his own gain. In the second, the suitor seeks to know you (the universe):
“[N]ot that he might better exploit you, but rather to unite with you and thereby bring forth something new, a creative synthesis emerging from both of your depths. He desires to liberate that which has been hidden by the separation between knower and known. His ultimate goal of knowledge is not increased mastery, prediction, and control, but rather a more richly responsive and empowered participation in a co-creative unfolding of new realities. He seeks an intellectual fulfillment that is intimately linked with imaginative vision, moral transformation, empathic understanding, aesthetic delight. His act of knowledge is essentially an act of love and intelligence combined, of wonder as well as discernment, of opening to a process of mutual discovery.”
Because I hold the second view and not the first, that means I do believe the universe has my back, is conspiring for me so that we can create something new together. It means, yeah, there is a cosmic air traffic controller of sorts that knows when I’m busy and when I’m not. So that also means things happen — like signing a new client or getting a book published — when I’m most ready for them.
I think about something Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, said regarding the runaway success of that book. She said she’s grateful it happened on her fourth and not her first book.
“And that I was nearly 40 not 22,” she said in an interview with the Guardian. “That I had a solid relationship. I’m really happy that it happened after my nervous breakdown, not before it.”
Meaning perhaps things would have been much harder for her had she achieved name and fame at an earlier age. That she would have endured more scrutiny or developed an eating disorder or something like that. Patience means we allow things to unfold naturally with the understanding that everything we need will automatically come our way at the perfect moment, to paraphrase Indian spiritual master Shirdi Sai Baba. And that includes things in the business world.