Waiting for something to happen in your business just plain sucks.
Sometimes you’re waiting to hear back from a prospect or a vendor—sometimes you’re waiting on a payment from a client or a customer.
At other times, you’re waiting on someone to do something that they said they were going to do.
I’ve done more than my fair share of waiting. And when I fall into that trap, I end up feeling really stupid.
I feel stupid because I’ve allowed someone other than myself to slow down my progress. I feel stupid because when I’m “waiting,” often times that’s all I’m doing.
The progress of my business slows because I’m focused on the waiting.
But Waiting Is Not the Problem, It’s a Symptom
Waiting for someone or something in your business really isn’t a problem in and of itself. Waiting is really a symptom of the real problem, which is that you care more about what the world does than you care about what you are doing.
Waiting puts you in the position of caring about the effects of your actions more than moving onto the next action. Waiting puts you in the position of allowing yourself to be molded by the world instead of being the one doing the molding.
Here is the bottom line that you never want to forget:
The only thing you ultimately control in business is what you put into it. Despite what the business gurus tell you, I’ve never met anyone who had total control over what actually happens in a business. Sometimes it might look that way from the outside in. But when you’re on the inside, it simply doesn’t work that way.
So to put your focus on anything but your input is simply misdirected energy. It’s not going to do you any good no matter how hard you try. (And boy do we try.)
When you find yourself waiting around in your business, ask yourself, “Why have I chosen to put my focus on the actions of others instead of keeping my focus on my own action?”
That single question might be enough to snap you out of your trance and back into the mindset of a business builder.
The business building mindset is where you are focused on what you are doing. You are focused on the input. You are focused on the recipe. You are focused on things that you can control. You mess with that focus when you start thinking about what’s happening (or not happening) because of what you are doing.
In other words, you reduce your potential success when you get too attached to the results of what you are doing. It’s not that you don’t care what happens, it’s simply that you are not attached to the outcomes in an unproductive way. There is a difference and it is a pretty large one.
If you are waiting for anything in your business, I’d suggest that you simply don’t have enough work to do. Or at least you have not given yourself a long enough list of other productive things to do while the results take care of themselves.
In the absence of your list of important to-dos, you just sit and wait.
How Much Can One Person Accomplish?
I still remember the first week I tried planning out my work and blocking out my time. I basically ran out of things to do before the first day was over! That’s a bit of an exaggeration but it’s in an effort to make my point clear:
Despite how “busy” we say we are, very few of us actually have enough to do. Enough of the right things to do that is.
Instead, our days are filled with busy work and only highlighted with the occasional important activity.
The important activities come so rarely that we feel like we did something special just for completing one. Then we wait around to see what happens because of our “major accomplishment.”
That’s the trap you want to watch out for.
Operating like that is a sure sign that you need to better plan your work. When you decide to stop waiting for success and start pursuing it, you realize that one of the most difficult things to do is to plan enough work to fill your time with important tasks.
It might be hard to believe, but this is actually hard work and requires a lot of discipline in my experience. But it’s work worth doing. Because In the absence of a plan like this, you end up falling into the trap of “waiting” for something.
Wait For No One, Because Waiting is Wasting Your Life
I think a better way to operate is to go in with the attitude that, “You wait for no one.”
The idea isn’t that you should be a jerk and demand that everything happens on your terms. While that might be the stereotypical success personality, who wants to go through life acting like that? You might end up successful, but you’ll also end up alone. And that, in my book, is total failure.
The core idea I want to communicate is that when you’re waiting for someone to do something or for something to happen, forget about it in an instant and take action on something else to build your business.
Let’s say you are waiting on a payment from a client. Days go by and the payment doesn’t arrive. You wait and you wait, but still no payment.
You have two options:
The first option is to wait around and stew about it. Choose this path and you’ll be focusing your energy on a target that will do you absolutely no good.
The second option is to move on and focus on something you actually control. This will keep you in the driver’s seat of your life and your business.
Getting caught “waiting for the world” is a fool’s game. You will never win, because the world is not there to serve you. You are there to serve you.
Are you waiting on something or someone in your business?
Stop waiting, stop stewing, stop complaining.
Just start doing.
[Ed. Note: Jason Leister is an internet entrepreneur, direct response copywriter and editor of "The Client Letter," the daily e-letter from ClientsSuck.net, where he helps independent professionals create success. You can contact him via his website at JasonLeister.com.]