ROI for Patience

Patience and fortitude go a long way in building and maintaining strong relationships and in accomplishing goals.

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
— Napoleon Hill

My kids would argue this, and maybe others would as well, but I think I’m a relatively patient person. Sure, I get frustrated in traffic sometimes or when people don’t use common sense. My kids often see me at my worst, so it makes some sense they’d have a skewed perspective. But at work and in my approach to life in general, I try hard to remember that good things often take time to develop.

It’s a message that I’ve found myself reminding my son about often lately. As a recent college graduate, his hopes were to quickly land a job in his chosen field and be well on his way to establishing a career that will serve him well the rest of his life. He’s worked hard to set himself up for success, but things don’t always go as expected. He’s currently working at a restaurant, biding his time, seemingly until the right opportunity finds him. But patience can only take a person so far, so he also needs to continue to put out the effort to make something happen.

My daughter has had a little more luck on the career front. Still several months from graduation, she has already accepted a job offer to do what she says will be her dream job. But she’s been forced to implement patience in other ways. A soccer player on her college team, she tore her ACL early in her junior season. She worked as hard as anyone I’ve seen to recover quickly enough to play her senior year, but her doctor did not clear her for full activity until only two weeks before this season started.

The challenge for her has been to work back to the level of skill and fitness at which she was so used to playing, even though she had barely touched a soccer ball for almost 10 months. And beyond that, she needed to convince her coach that she was ready to contribute fully.

The first month of the season saw her gradually worked into the lineup. For a player who was accustomed to starting every game since freshman year, it was hard for her to watch the team suffer losses early on while not being given much opportunity to contribute. But by the midpoint of the season, her patience and hard work paid off as she found herself back in the starting lineup.

We all have our own trying situations to which we must apply patience and hard work. Maybe you’ve experienced the struggle of trying to find a rewarding job. Perhaps certain projects in your current job are particularly challenging and require extensive trial and error to improve the production process. Or maybe you routinely need to deal with difficult customers or co-workers.

The good news is that patience and perseverance almost always pay off. Keeping a calm head allows us to think more clearly, and enduring through difficult situations usually leads to rewarding opportunities.

I’m reminded of the substantial change in process that we experienced here at the office when we recently implemented our new system for reporting business expenses. Particularly for employees who have been around a while and used the old system for many years, the adjustment was a hard pill to swallow. We had gotten used to the little idiosyncrasies that we had to work around, and now we were being asked to start all over.

I suppose the opposition that was expressed is a common reaction to something new. But with a little patience in learning the new system, we quickly realized that our company had good reason to make the change. It turns out that our new expense software is actually more efficient to use and makes our lives easier in the long run. Who wouldn’t want that? For another example of a company improving its processes through software implementation, see our cover story beginning on page 32.

The lesson here is that with the right approach, you may get more than you expect. Patience and fortitude go a long way in building and maintaining strong relationships and in accomplishing goals. The investment may sometimes take its toll on time and attitude, but the return is well worth it.