We all know that patience is a virtue and there’s no such thing as an overnight success. The depth of the word, however, is something we only truly understand through experience; from the time we’re small children and learn to wait our turn and not leave the table until everyone has finished eating, we are beginning to develop an understanding of patience. And anyone who’s ever set an ambitious goal as an adult – whether it’s training for a marathon, launching a company or going for anything out-of-the-box and hard to reach – recognizes patience as essential.
Arguably as important a quality among successful people, interestingly, is the ability to maintain a sense of impatience, or urgency. This “gut-level feeling of determination that you need to do something right now” is integral – first and foremost, because it inspires action. And without action, we are only ideas and thoughts: nothing changes.
Although this secret weapon often goes overlooked, performance strategist Matt Mayberry notes, a sense of urgency is integral to most highly successful people. Loving and believing in what you do surely helps (check out this awesome related Ted Talk), as does having a strong sense of purpose. Above all though, your desire to act needs to come from within, as intrinsic motivation is the only type that has real staying power.
Naturally maintaining a sense of urgency is unusual, according to expert and author John Kotter, because “it’s not the natural state of affairs. It has to be created and recreated.” So, what can we do to inspire a sense of urgency in ourselves? In his book, Kotter shares 4 ways to establish a sense of urgency. Use his tips to ensure your personal sense of urgency is intact and thriving:
1. Bring the outside in. Seek external opportunities. Even when you’re in the middle of a specific project and you feel like you’re ‘in the zone’, don’t narrow yourself too much or you’ll likely miss a valuable opportunity to improve and expand yourself.
2. Behave with urgency. Every day. It’s that simple: act. Walk the walk and allow your self-awareness to remind you to make action a habit.
3. Find opportunity in crises. When you receive unexpected negative news, it’s natural to feel discouraged at times. In order to move forward and get ‘unstuck’ as quickly as possible, you need to make the conscious decision to view each obstacle as an opportunity. (You never know what might sweet new door may open as a result of an unexpected change in your game plan.)
4. Deal with the no-nos (now). Avoid anyone who is holding you back or threatening your goals. If a constructive conversation can improve a situation – wonderful; but be sure to protect yourself from anyone standing in your way or hindering you from your path.
* Song For This Moment: “Never Stop” by Contact.
Source & Related Articles:
“The Importance of Urgency”, article in Harvard Business Review.
“Don’t Lose That All-Important Sense of Urgency”, article in Entrepreneur.
“20 Ways To Create Urgency”, article in Enterprisers Project.