Okay, I am guilty as charged here. Maybe I am hypocritical in writing this article, as it describes me to a tee. Well, at least it has in the past.
Most of my working life has been about setting ‘BHAG’ goals – otherwise known as big, hairy, audacious goals – and hammering through the work to achieve this. I have often tried to squeeze new ventures into the year I was working in so that I was maximizing my output, when really, some of them would have been better off launching the next year.
But something happened this year. I started to realize that this organization could in fact span several generations, and so as the guy at the start of it all, I have a responsibility to dig very deep foundations to ensure its long-term success.
Whether that is one – or all – of my children working in it or not, it is intended to be around for a very long time. This sudden revelation really changed the way I was thinking. It made me realize that I need to slow down a little, ensure all the little things are done very well, and thus build from a place of strength. There is actually not the rush I thought there was. Time was in fact on my side.
We’re all in a hurry to get from where we are to where we want to be. It’s natural and it’s not even a bad thing, as it means you’re ambitious. But it’s bad when it means that you quit early when you haven’t seen the success that you expected in the timeframe that you set.
As I have written in the past, most people overestimate what they can achieve in one year, but they underestimate what they can achieve in five to ten years. Or as one pastor put it, most Christians don’t have a lack of faith, they lack a length of faith. That is, they need what they want to happen within their timeframe, and when this doesn’t happen, they lose heart, often times quitting.
I have nearly quit in the past because I set unrealistic expectations on both myself and the business. That was my fault, yet it left me feeling very discouraged for many years.
The older I get, the more I am realizing that good things really do take a lot of time. Sure, there will be the occasional Facebook/Snapchat/Uber/Google/WeWork founders that seem to come from nowhere and achieve what seems to be overnight success.
There will also be Instagram influencers that are successful overnight. But for the rest of us, lengthening out the time it is going to take to achieve your goals is actually okay. The only exceptions would be sports people, models and those in the entertainment industry, where, generally speaking, you need to make it happen while you’re young.
For me, the upshot is that I feel more present at home with my wife, with my children, and even with my surfboard… I am finding time for the things I love, as I am not in such a rush.
So if you’re feeling discouraged, maybe take a moment so see if you have placed unrealistic expectations on your timeframes for achieving whatever it is you want to achieve.
Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of My Christian Daily. He also blogs at www.mattdanswan.com. His new book NOT Business As Usual documents the story of the building of Initiate Media debt-free.