Greatness Requires the Courage to be Patient and Disciplined – Part 3 of 4

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” It’s hard to take Lao Tzu’s 600 year-old advice when you are building a business or launching a career. When you are scratching out a living and under stress, patience seems like a luxury you can’t afford. Difficult as it may seem, slowing down was the best answer 600 years ago and it is the best answer today. 

I am not new to starting a business or entrepreneurial ventures. I have been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember and sales have never scared me. In fact, I went to law school mostly to protect me from my natural tendencies to be a fanatical entrepreneur and move too quickly. For my current business, JIFU, we even wrote principles that we use to govern our business decisions. 

JIFU Principle 3: We design first and then execute. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is more than a saying, it’s true.  Success requires strong foundations.  Failure to execute a well-designed plan will almost assuredly waste resources, time, and efforts.  We plan and then execute striving for perfection.

It takes courage to run your business the right way and to have the patience to speed up by slowing down. Courage does not mean you don’t feel fear, but it does help give you the ability to conquer and overcome your fear. 

We watch movies and read stories of athletes and war heroes overcoming impossible odds. Few of us will compete in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans or ever be confronted with a life or death combat scenario. However, the courage to stand for your beliefs and blaze a trail in business requires tremendous bravery and courage. 

Courageous entrepreneurs typically have the following characteristics: 

Conviction: Great people do not follow blindly but know exactly where they stand. They are consistently passionate about their beliefs and never back down in the face of adversity.

Confidence:  This is a big one and it must be tempered at times to avoid pride-driven errors. However, believing in yourself and what you want to achieve gives you the confidence to pursue your vision. Confidence also means trusting in your skills and capabilities. You want to work with others, but if they are negative, you are able to continue with passion because your self-confidence is unshakable.

Integrity: We are all born with an inner compass that enables us to distinguish between right and wrong. Courage means not being swayed from what we know is right. It means pursuing our goals with good intent. It is not destroying other people and selling ourselves out in the process. Achieving your goals with integrity may take longer than by using unscrupulous shortcuts, but the success will be both meaningful and sustainable. 

Uncomfortable: Courageous leaders are rarely comfortable because they are willing to leave their comfort zone. In fact, courageous people live outside of their comfort zone. They realize that major changes may be necessary to attain their vision and are brave enough to be disruptors and masters of change. If you want a comfortable career, you will not likely make a big change in the world. 

Trail Blazers: Going where others have feared to travel is the definition of courage. Think of how many great people have changed history by sailing unknown waters with no anchor to slow their blazing passion and conviction. 

Great people embrace the unknown and are eager for new challenges because they have the confidence to overcome them.  

Summed Up: Greatness has a price. If you are unwilling to pay the price, greatness is not in your future. Great people are ready to make big sacrifices and live a life of integrity in order to pave new roads for others to follow.