Rejection is part of every entrepreneur’s life. The proposal that is not accepted, the call that is not returned, the blog does not instantly go viral, and the client who terminates a contract. But if you believe social media, stories in the press, and courses that offer instant income, you could feel that everyone else has the secret to success figured out; only you are struggling to gain traction.
Maybe you tell yourself that you need to work harder, put in longer hours, expand your social media presence, start podcasting, or write a blog. These take time, and you are likely hustling as hard and as fast as possible. You do not have time to breathe, let alone think. Even though you know it’s not right you focus on execution and the short term.
What can you do about it? Dorie Clark suggests you adopt strategic patience. Strategic patience is the ability to do the work without any guarantee of success, to toil without accolades or recognition. Accept that things will take longer than you expect. It is writing that blog when no one reads it, You will not be able to see progress on a weekly, monthly, or maybe even a yearly basis. Big goals are not achievable in the short term. But most things can be achieved in the long term and your efforts will not be incremental; eventually, they will be exponential.
Why are you so busy that you cannot find the time for things that are important? Research has shown that busyness is equated with higher social status in some societies, generally Western-orientated societies. If we are busy, we are in high demand, we are being sought after. We tell folks we are super busy to make sure they know it.
Busyness can be an anaesthetic; when we are busy there is no time to ask ourselves the more difficult questions. Do I know where I and my business are going? As a solo entrepreneur, busyness may create an illusion of success; you earn more as you spend more time at work. But trading dollars for hours limits your earning potential. There are only 168 hours in a week, and you cannot work all of them.
There are probably many inefficiencies in your day, things you put up and probably do not even know it. If you allow your working hours to expand, you will likely never address these inefficiencies. Things like tasks that should be outsourced but which you do yourself because training someone will take time. But if you adjust your priorities to focus on what is important to you, you will no longer accept these inefficiencies, you will take action to eliminate them.
You will ask yourself
• Why am I doing this task at all? Can someone else do it? Or should it be done at all?
• Where should I focus my effort to get the greatest return?
• If I was starting fresh today, would I choose to continue to invest my time in this project?
David Allen, author of the well-recognized productivity guide, “Getting Things Done” says “You do not need time to have a good idea, you need space. And you cannot think appropriately if you do not have space in your head” You do not need to set aside hundreds of hours for long-term thinking, but you do need to give yourself time to think. Today many of us crave input. We constantly look at social media, scrolling for hours through Facebook, TikTok ans Instagram. I watch folks during my commute staring at their phones. Give yourself time to produce some output. I make it a habit not to look at my phone during my commute, instead I let my mind wander. Occasionally an idea for developing my business comes to mind. Then I need to find the time to act.