Every Monday in July, I will be sharing a different mindset that has helped me pursue God’s call on my life. In this blog, I’ll be talking about patience.
There is one severely undervalued virtue that is crucial for building wealth, a business, the Kingdom, your career, and pretty much anything else. It’s patience. However, in America especially, we value fast-paced, quick results, and instant gratification (more on that later.) Oftentimes, patience is seen as the enemy, not the solution.
Patience is the ability to cultivate endurance with the end goal in mind. Biblical patience requires having faith in the unseen and trusting that God will supply you with the tools and opportunities to get you where you need to be.
There are three critical areas of leadership where I’ve found it’s difficult to exercise patience: with people, process, and power (rather than passivity). I have to constantly remind myself to be patient—it doesn’t come naturally. If you’re like me, the rest of this blog is for you!
Patience with People
“I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, nearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)
Learning how to deal with people effectively is one of the fundamentals of leadership. However, people can be frustrating. It’s often easier to do the work yourself rather than to delegate, however, it’s certainly not the most effective way. In order to grow any organization, the people at the top must be willing to move from being doers to being leaders. Don’t get me wrong—entrepreneurs and people with more responsibility in an organization will often wear many hats. They lead, they manage, and they do. However, there has to be a shift where leaders pass the baton so they can work on their organization more than they work inside of it.
Many small to medium-sized organizations don’t implement this concept. A lot of people start a business because they are passionate about the good or service they are offering—not business itself. Take a hair salon, for example. A woman opens her own salon because she loves the craft of styling hair, but after a number of years, she wants to grow her business. In order to do this, she’ll have to train new employees (which takes time away from working with new clients), pay them (or split referrals), and potentially rent/purchase a bigger space in due time. At first, she will lose money. In these situations, you have to see the forest for the trees. What’s the 10-year vision? How many young stylists can she impact through mentorship and employment?
As you can see, there’s an element of trust and discipleship as well. Think about it this way: God didn’t have to trust a bunch of flawed humans with the world He created, but He did. We mess up over and over and over again, yet God still has patience with us. He gives us the gift of work. Because of his patient character, we are able to continually grow, build, and partake in the creative process. As leaders, it’s our job to equip those we lead to do the same—even if it’s not as efficient or monetarily advantageous at first. Good leaders develop leaders.
Patience with Process
“The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than arrogance.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 (CEB)
In America, instant gratification is often right at our fingertips. Any question can be answered through a quick online search. Whatever food cravings we have can be satiated in a matter of minutes. Entire series of tv shows can be streamed without having to wait for the next episodes to be released. We can fly anywhere on the planet.
Google, DoorDash, Netflix, and international travel are all wonderful inventions. In its proper context, instant gratification is not a bad thing. It operates in conjunction with the pleasure principle, which is the driving force that compels human beings to meet their needs, wants, and urges. However, it’s hard to isolate our desire for instantaneous activity to a specific section of our brain.
We want immediate answers to the big questions of life, our career direction, and the trajectory of our leadership. The hard truth is that fast fruit is hard to come by. There’s no shortcut to patience and faithfulness. A few things can happen when we don’t practice patience in our business or workspace:
1. Shiny Object Syndrome: When there’s a frustrating problem, it’s natural to evade it and move to something new. This could be a project within the same organization, or it could even be moving to a new job opportunity or business venture. Patience is the ability to stay the course and work through an issue rather than around it. Problems within an organization are rarely isolated, so failure to address something can easily filter into other areas.
2. Stagnation: It’s the classic tortoise and the hare situation. Just because you’re moving fast doesn’t mean you’re making progress. Use discernment. Is your constant activity actually producing, or is it a coping mechanism for your anxiety? True growth happens when you take the time to reflect, plan, and develop deep roots.
Instant gratification is one of the biggest root issues underneath why people don’t build wealth. Purchasing liabilities rather than assets, racking up consumer debt, or saving money rather than taking a risk all demonstrate a pull towards instant gratification.
Urgency is often symptomatic of a lack of faith. Leaders must see the 30,000-foot view and practice patient development in their spheres of influence. The result will be a culture that is free of anxiety and full of vision.
Patience with Power (not Passivity)
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)
We work with God to establish His will in the Earth. As a leader, that is your job. Believe me, I know it’s frustrating at times. You won’t end every day with confidence in your trajectory or plan. There will be some problems that stump you for months! Nevertheless, struggling is not grounds for giving up. Trials are not a *sign* that something is not God’s will anymore—resistance is just part of the program.
Patience is not passive. It requires steadfast work and endurance. We do our part in faith, and God does His. The result of prayerful work and patience is absolutely powerful. I encourage you to press into what God is saying about your realm of leadership. Don’t succumb to the Spirit of anxiety, rather, move with the Prince of Peace.