This is Entrepreneurs of Faith, a Sunday episode of Monetization Nation. I’m Nathan Gwilliam, your host. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss the attribute of patience based on a sermon given by American scholar, educator, and religious leader Neal Maxwell.
Maxwell explained, “Patience is not indifference. Actually, it means caring very much but being willing, nevertheless, to submit to the Lord and to what the scriptures call the ‘process of time.’”
As entrepreneurs, we often have to be patient for success. According to Freshbooks.com, most small businesses take at least two to three years to become profitable and only become truly successful once they’ve hit the seven to the 10-year mark.
Seven years is a long time to wait for success. We may get discouraged and want to quit. However, we should trust in the Lord’s timing. “When we are unduly impatient we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than [God does]. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than His,” Maxwell said.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (KJV Hebrews 10:36)
There are countless companies that had to wait for their success. Airbnb is one of them.
The company started back in 2008 as nothing more than a couple of air beds on a floor in San Francisco. Its founders knew their idea was worth pursuing, but they were desperate for cash. They couldn’t get investors so they sold hundreds of special-edition cereal boxes to raise the money. Five years later, they were valued at $2.5 billion (Source: The Atlantic). As of January 2021, the company’s valuation was over $100 billion (Source: Bloomberg).
As Maxwell said, patience is not indifference. It is not idly sitting by waiting for things to happen. The founders of Airbnb couldn’t get investors, so they found their own way to make it happen. Having patience doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about our dreams. We should be actively working toward them, even though they may take a long time to accomplish.
“How many times have good individuals done the right thing only to break or wear away under subsequent stress, canceling out much of the value of what they had already so painstakingly done?” Maxwell asked. “Sometimes that which we are doing is correct enough but simply needs to be persisted in patiently, not for a minute or a moment but sometimes for years. Paul speaks of the marathon of life and of how we must ‘run with patience the race that is set before us.’” (See Hebrews 12:1)
4 Reasons to be Patient in Our Business
Here are four reasons why we should strive to be patient in our business and how patience can help us.
1. Avoid Bad Decision-Making
Impatience can lead to making hasty decisions that can have a negative impact on our company. If we decide something without truly considering all of our options because we just want to get to the next thing, we can seriously hurt our company.
For example, if we rush to get a product out that’s not ready, customers who buy that product or consider buying it will see it’s not ready and lose trust in us. But if we had slowed down and considered what it would mean to launch the product, we would have realized it was a bad decision.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
Not being patient can lead us to set expectations that aren’t realistic for ourselves or others. We may think something will accomplish a certain amount of time, but when it takes longer we may blame ourselves or others. This can lead to bad relationships with others and harmful thoughts about ourselves.
With patience, however, it is easier to assess the situation and come up with a more accurate timeline. If that timeline still doesn’t work, we’re more likely to forgive ourselves and others for not meeting the deadline. This isn’t to say there shouldn’t be consequences for not meeting deadlines or other goals, but with patience, we can better deal with these goals.
3. Build Better Relationships
Along with helping us set realistic expectations for others, patience can help us with our relationships in general.
Say we have an employee who does something we don’t agree with or makes a mistake. It is easy to simply get mad at them and question why they don’t agree with us or why they didn’t do things our way.
But with patience, we can step back and see things from their point of view. We can then understand the reasons behind their thoughts and actions. Part of knowing people is understanding them, and patience really allows us to do that. We can sit down and have a conversation with them, instead of ignoring their perspective. Who knows, maybe we’ll even come to the conclusion that they were right or find out that what they did actually saved us money.
Maxwell explained how patience and time can affect relationships through examples from the Bible. He said, “The passage of time is not, by itself, an automatic cure for bad choices; but often individuals like the prodigal son can ‘in process of time’ come to their senses. The touching reunion of Jacob and Esau in the desert, so many years after their youthful rivalry, is a classic example of how generosity can replace animosity when the truth is mixed with time. When we are unduly impatient, we are, in effect, trying to hasten an outcome when this kind of acceleration would be to abuse agency.”
“If you have patience, then you’ll also have love. Patience leads to love.” – Mata Amritanandamayi, Indian spiritual leader, guru, and humanitarian
4. Reflect and Prepare
While writing this sermon Maxwell realized that the in-between periods of life give us time to reflect on what we’ve been through as well as prepare for what’s ahead.
“Personal relevance of patience, among many things, permits us to deal more effectively with the unevenness of life‘s experiences,” Maxwell explained. “I recorded the substance of this speech about three months ago while driving to a stake conference in Elko, Nevada, across that rather barren, but beautiful in its own way, stretch of desert. (Incidentally, as soon as most of this speech on patience was dictated my car threw two fan belts!)”
“During that drive,” he continued, “it was brought forcibly to me that the seeming flat periods of life give us a blessed chance to reflect upon what is past as well as to be readied for some rather stirring climbs ahead. Instead of grumbling and murmuring, we should be consolidating and reflecting, which would not be possible if life were an uninterrupted sequence of fantastic scenery, confrontive events, and exhilarating conversation.”
We aren’t meant to go from one success or exciting event in life directly to another. We need time in between to process what we’ve been through and then plan for what’s ahead. For example, we can take the time in between product launches to reflect on what went well or what didn’t in the last launch. We can then take what we’ve learned and apply it to improve our next launch.
“Patience helps us to use, rather than to protest, these seeming flat periods of life, becoming filled with quiet wonder over the past and with anticipation for that which may lie ahead, instead of demeaning the particular flatness through which we may be passing at the time. We should savor even the seemingly ordinary times, for life cannot be made up of all of the kettledrums and crashing cymbals. There must be some flutes and violins. Living cannot be all crescendo; there must be some dynamic contrast.”
Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. Patience doesn’t mean indifference. We should still care about the situations we are going through.
2. Patience doesn’t mean sitting idly by, waiting for things to happen. We should still be actively seeking our goals.
3. Having patience can help us avoid making bad decisions.
4. Patience can help us set realistic expectations for ourselves and others.
5. Patience allows us to see things through other people’s perspectives.
6. The periods of life where we have to wait to give us time to reflect and prepare.
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