Patience donkey…Patience

Growing up, my sisters used to have a saying (that came from a silly kids story about – you guessed it – a donkey).

The saying went “Patience donkey…Patience”. I find myself saying that to myself as an entrepreneur quite often. I’m sure you do too (in your own endearing way).

One of the toughest lessons to learn in entrepreneurship is the importance and pre-eminence of….Patience!

We just want it now don’t we? As soon as an idea crystallizes in our mind’s eye, we expect it to come to fruition – almost as though by magic. Anyone or any circumstance (including time) that gets in the way are seen as a mortal enemy. A rude barrier to our bliss.

We are just so darn impatient! (Don’t leave me alone on this one).

But when I study my highly successful entrepreneur friends like Matt Moog, former CEO of CoolSavings and founder/CEO of Viewpoints, I see the reality of a very patient entrepreneur playing itself out. Last week Matt spoke at a TiE midwest event and talked about the important lessons he had learned along the way – one of them being the importance of patience. He attributed a great deal of his breakthrough success as a CEO to being patient – even when lucrative opportunity to be impulsive presented itself.

So when you find yourself thinking…

– We’ve gotta get that new functionality on our site live NOW!
– We’ve gotta get in front of those big investors NOW – or else!
– I’ve got to hear back from that potential client NOW!
– Why aren’t my staff members moving as FAST as I need them to?
– When will our user adoption get to critical mass? Let’s do something to accelerate it!
– I really think we should take over that new office space NOW!
– If we don’t spend the money on X NOW, the sky will fall.

Listen, driving for results is good – and important.

Being impatient, however, can be quite dangerous. And there is a big difference between the two.

I’ve got plenty of horror stories (personal and bystander) of situations where an impatient entrepreneur made a rash decision that cost them relationships, money and/or market opportunity.

So the next time you find yourself fretting to GO, GO, GO on a circumstance or big decision, do what my friend Matt does. Put it away for 2 weeks and if it is still just as big of deal then as it originally was, take action. (Side note – Matt has a two month “put-it-in-the-drawer” policy on any new ideas).

In other words…

Patience donkey…Patience
(gulp!) – that’s me taking a taste of my own medicine.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by scottallenlewis, Joe Abraham. Joe Abraham said: Patience in Entrepreneurship – from my blog […]

  2. Blood Pressure Formula on February 9, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Very enjoyed this! Well done!