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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

A Centipede Party

An ant, a spider, and a centipede are having a party.

The ant realizes that they are running low on beer. He offers to head out to buy some more beer. The centipede says, “No, let me do it. You’d take too long. I have a lot more legs than you – I can do it faster!” The bugs agree.

10 minutes pass… Then 20 minutes, then 30, then more. The spider asks, “What’s taking him so long?” The ant decides to head out to investigate. He opens the front door and sees the centipede outside on the front step.

The ant asks, “Hey man, what’s taking you so long?”

The centipede replies, “Hold on I’m still putting on my shoes”.

Waiting is difficult thing for everyone. I get impatient and frustrated when I’m stuck in traffic or standing in an impossibly long line at a store. I sigh or start tapping my fingers on the wheel… If I’m reacting this way as an adult, imagine how it feels to be told to wait if you are a kid.

It was stand-up comedian Louis C.K. that put the concept of waiting into perspective for me in one of his onstage stories – “She said ‘I had to sit in the plane on the runway for 40 minutes!!!’ C.K. replied – Oh, really? What happened then, did you fly through the air like a bird, incredibly? Did you soar into the clouds, impossibly? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight and then land softly on tires bigger than your car – that you couldn’t even begin to conceive how they put air in them?…You’re upset sitting in a chair in the sky. You are really upset… you’re like a Greek myth right now!”

In today’s world of immediate information from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) we have become spoiled with instant response and connection to information and people. We are fooled into believing that everything is “instant”. This is a dangerous mindset to have if you are starting a business.

People considering a new venture need to realize the critical ingredient that patience is. It was American businessman and humorist Arnold H. Glasow that said “The key is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”

Glasow’s quote underscores the idea that patience is at the heart of any long-term business success. We cannot assume an investment (time or money) made today is going to pay off this month, quarter or even this year (very different mindset than Googling a question and getting an answer in a half a second).

So what is the key to maintaining our patience as we grow our businesses and economy? I believe that having an all-consuming sense of purpose in what you are doing is drop-dead critical.  Knowing WHY you are doing what you are doing is the only way I have found to be able to sustain a high level of passion that is needed to remain patient through all of the highs and lows. So where does passion come from? (Digging very deep here) – for me there are only three sources of passion: you love who you do it for, you  love what you do, or both.

Back to our three bugs and their quest for beer – yes the centipede made it back to the party before the beer ran out, proving once and for all having 100 legs can be a very useful thing when you finally get all your shoes on.  ;)


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