There appears to have been a theme for me this week in several conversations with my clients.
“I’ve been putting in the hard work, but when will I get the results?”
It’s what I struggle with myself from time to time. I go hard at something – a new plan or trying out a different marketing strategy – and then get frustrated when I don’t achieve what I thought I ought to get.
When you follow a particular path that you believe is going to get you where you think you want to go and you have laid out your goals and targets for each step of that journey, it is tough when the goals and targets you’ve set don’t materialise the way you thought they would.
It’s tempting to throw your toys out of the pram, to want to hide under the duvet, to start thinking thoughts of wanting to give up and go do something easier; something simpler; something that doesn’t feel as hard as it does right now.
But giving up is not an option.
Sowing the seeds for future business can be unpredictable and, being human, it is usual for us to want to control and see results fast. And to throw more anguish into the equation, we often get emotionally attached to the results and blame ourselves for not performing the way we thought we would.
I know there are plenty of experts and articles on the wonderful world wide web that try and tell us differently. Automate and set up marketing funnels to bring in new leads and all your business dreams will come true … well, I can tell you that comes from a land of Unicorns pooping jelly tots!
Some seeds don’t come with exact germination timings.
And some seeds just take a very, very long time to shoot up.
Take the bamboo farmers. When they sow the bamboo seeds, they take not one, not two but five years for anything to appear above ground level. For five years, those bamboo seeds are growing their roots under the soil and it’s not until the fifth year that they shoot up 80 feet tall within just 6 weeks.
Do the bamboo farmers start blaming themselves after a year or so that the shoots haven’t started to appear? No … they know it’s a waiting game of looking after their crops.
Now, does that mean some of your seeds may take up to five years to shoot up?
Well, yes. Possibly.
But there will also be seeds that take 6 weeks. And some that will take 2 months. And some that will be even years before you harvest those business leads.
Patience is not a virtue often associated with entrepreneurial types and people who run their own businesses. At best it is over-looked or ignored; at worst it is viewed as being weak for not seizing the day and surging forth with action.
However, I see patience as being critical to your growth, both in business and personal terms.
Patience is not about cruising along and avoiding what’s needed doing to see your business grow. It’s not about being complacent or sitting cross legged on the floor asking the Universe for new clients.
To me being patience is keeping cool and calm and recognising all the little results that are telling you you are on a right path.
When I find myself in the midst of getting caught up with “I’m working hard, why am I not getting results?” storm (and it is a storm because I get buffeted around, picking up bruises and bumps along the way!), patience goes straight out the window.
I get emotionally attached to the outcomes which usually results in pushing away business.
Let the storm calm and see the journey for what it is, and I’m able to see results and the good things happening all around me.
As a business owner, it is your job to sow seeds each and every week. Some weeks there will be more seeds than others, of course. But to only sow seeds when you absolutely need the business and you find yourself on the wire, and no matter how patient you are, they probably won’t germinate in time for you to meet your harvest deadlines.
Some seeds will be ready when they decide they are ready. You simply can’t speed up seeds that don’t want to be sped up. Start forcing that seed and then blame yourself for not getting the harvest you wanted and you will be pushing business away.
Once you’ve planted, you need to nurture them. And whilst you nurture those seeds, you need to carry on and plant some more. And then some more.
There is no simple answer to when is the right time for harvesting, I’m afraid. But I hope by reading this I’ve inspired you to be patience and to keep sowing seeds and keep taking action whilst you wait for results to happen.
How do you cope with waiting for leads to convert in to business? Do you get frustrated by doing “the hard work” and not seeing results quick enough? I would love to read your thoughts so add a comment below and join in the conversation.