So I don’t write about myself often but I found myself really going through something this week and I wanted to talk about this as I don’t think it is discussed enough in the startup world. For founders, patience is hard.
Now I’m sure there are peers of mine who are better at being patient than I am but it has always been a weakness of mine. Those of you that know me know that I can get over eager and I tend to be the jump without looking type especially when it comes to the companies I have either started myself or have helped others start. I will say I have worked very hard to try and become more patient which is funny because I feel like we never talk about that side of startups. It’s always “go, go, go” and hustle and we always talk about founders staying up all night and working like crazy wasting no time so competitors can’t catch up and we can grab market-dominating position.
In my experience we don’t ever discuss the need to sometimes step back, take a deep breath and be patient (again I’m learning this as I go so I’m not an expert, just speaking from experience). What I think is even more critically important for startups and their founders is knowing when to be patient and not run crazily into a burning building. I’m not saying don’t be ambitious and shoot for the stars, just that we never as widely discuss the fact that for most startups, you really only get one chance at a first impression, especially for younger and first-time founders. A mentor once told me, a key to startup success is to focus until it hurts. Focusing that hard often means letting certain opportunities pass you by which (trust me I deal with this constantly) can be painful internally because I see an opportunity to grow and build and expand, but ultimately it would distract us, not focus us.
Half joking here, but maybe that was what this mentor meant by focus until it hurts. Get so focused on crushing the smallest thing you and your team can know that opps will pass you by, and for someone like me who self-admittedly struggles with patience, it hurts letting them go haha. For all my fellow startup/founder peeps out there, if you find yourself struggling with patience, you are not alone. Social media and “hustle culture” really exacerbate this, hawking “overnight” success stories and the rare few startups that can raise a Seed and a Series A in 6 months (this is not the norm, trust me).
I’m not going to pretend to be some thought leader on this topic. I’m sure, like me, many of you are working on this same improvement within yourself. If you have any tips or insights as to how you have helped develop better patience practices send us an email and we will feature them at the bottom of this post!