Once you know that you possess the characteristics of an entrepreneur and you are an entrepreneur-in-the-making, it’s time to take action. At the same time, you must also be patient. This might feel like a contradiction in terms. “Take action” makes you feel like you need to put the pedal to the metal. “Be patient” makes you feel like you need to slam on the brakes. So, what gives?
While these two instructions may sound contradictory, they are actually quite complementary. By doing both you can manage your expectations and avoid a lot of frustration. If you think that you are going to have your idea tomorrow, launch your business next week, and generate $5 million next year—well, most of you are going to be disappointed. That’s why you need to “take action” and “be patient.”
Ten-Year Thinking—The Virtue of Patience
You can afford to be patient because you know you are going to make your mark someday. It might be next week or 15 years from now. As you patiently move toward your goal, you have to reframe your sense of time. Try to think in 10-year time frames.
I learned the discipline of thinking in 10-year time frames when I was 32. Once I did, time slowed down. I started having more fun. I was less frustrated and rushed, and more great things started happening.
The process works like this. First, you have to understand that, barring a natural disaster or getting run over by a car, you are probably going to live until age 85. Even if you are 65 right now, you still have a good 20 years left. If you are 15, you have 70 years left.
Next, you need to realize that you can accomplish anything in 10 years, worst case 20. Jim Collins says, “It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.” If you think you’ll build an empire in the next couple of years, in most cases you’re going to be sorely disappointed. If you accept that you have 10 years to build something great, your mind and your body can relax. You’ll think better and make better decisions.
You can accomplish anything in 10 years, but rarely in two. The motivational speaker Les Brown used to say, “All you need is a good decade.”
Take a few minutes right now and think about what you could accomplish if you gave yourself 10 years.