If you polled the people closest to me and asked them to rate my patience on a scale from 1 to 10, I’m confident that most of the results would come in below a 5. If not, then they clearly don’t know me well enough. Patience is something that I’ve never embodied in my life, much to my detriment at times.
For those unaware, I just started a new job on Monday. I’m now back in the software development world, using new languages (Ruby/Rails) that I’ve never used before1. My coworker who is guiding me through a lot of the stuff has told me numerous times “don’t worry about being useful for the first month or so, just pick up what you can and learn.”
And lemme tell you, as someone with 0 patience? I take that as a challenge. “What do you mean, I won’t be useful for a month??? I can pick this stuff up quick! Look, here’s a pull request!!!” I have no desire to sit at my desk and feel useless; being bored at work is the worst.
Or hey, let’s talk about my Kickstarter that failed miserably. I was all fired up, ready to go, ready to get back into making some great music. I got some swanky headshots taken, I figured out exactly how much I needed to raise, and I made my Kickstarter page look really nice.
My wife, who runs her own business and does her own marketing, told me numerous times “make sure you’ve got an emotional hook,” or “plan out some content to post in the coming days,” or “don’t just expect people to donate, give them a reason.” And of course, being the stubborn idiot that I am, I completely ignored her. “My music is great. People will love it! I got this,” I thought.
The result? I got a ton of people to donate on the first couple of days, and then nothing. And since I’m impatient, instead of actually following her wonderful suggestions, I got mad and frustrated and watched my plans completely crash and burn.
One more example: take a look at all of my 2019 goals I set. 6 of my 7 goals are currently not completed. Only 1 or 2 of those actually has a shot. And you know why? Because I set massive, 365-day-long goals, didn’t see enough progress early on, got impatient, and gave up.
Does this last one sound like you? Did you set some goals for this past year and give up because of a lack of early-year progress?
Then do what I’m gonna do in 2020: don’t make yearly goals. Make them quarterly, or even monthly.
One thing I learned at my last job is that when you’re working on a project, not only do you need to set realistic expectations, you also set concrete and achievable milestones. Those milestones are almost more important when it comes to accomplishing your goals or projects. If you hit them, it gives you inspiration and something to hang your hat on. If you miss them, it gives you a chance to re-assess your long-term plan. Can you get back on track & hit the original deadline? Do you need to adjust and extend that deadline out a ways?
So. 2020. I’m going to be setting some long-term goals, and they’re gonna look similar to what they looked like this year. But my goals that I’m going to track? Those will be quarterly goals. Tangible steps that I can accomplish. A way for me to not get so discouraged if life happens and I miss the mark.
Will you join me?
Did you enjoy this post? Did something I say really resonate with you? Am I just flat-out wrong? Hit me up on Twitter and let’s chat about it.
Side note: I’m sorry to everyone that I’ve ignored over the years when you’ve talked about how awesome this language is. ↩