Antony Thompson - Why delayed gratification is so crucial for a new business

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Why delayed gratification is so crucial for a new business owner or entrepreneur.

Whether it’s mail, shopping, seeing someone or microwaving a meal. Today, we are fortunate enough to live in an age where most things like this are nearly instantaneous. This is a great step for mankind, and is a clear indication of progression, but, what is happening to our ability to delay our gratification of the things we want to achieve in our lives?

I am sat on the train from Exeter to Bristol, in eager anticipation to see my wife and children; who I’ve spent the week away from. Then, the conductor announces this train is cancelled. My immediate emotional response was “oh this is b*****s”, then I immediately remembered something which I’ve been implementing in my life for a while now, and that is the stoic philosophy. ‘Stoicism is a moral philosophy that emphasizes the discipline and mastery of the emotions in order to reach a wiser, rational, and peaceful mindset.’ In simple terms, I had to forego my immediate emotional response and take control of the situation from an analytical viewpoint. What is my current situation? Is there anything I can do, such by doing it, I will be able to affect the outcome of the situation? In that current state, the answer was “no, I cannot do anything but board the next train and accept what is”. When you are able to process information like this, it does everything to alleviate the release of cortisol (the stress chemical), thus allowing me the freedom to continue my day, albeit delayed by an hour.

Therefore, as an entrepreneur, new business owner or managing director, it is essential to attempt to model a similar mindset into your daily routine. I can guarantee, the amount of trains that are delayed, cancelled or outright come off the tracks are frequent and impactful. However, by adopting a slightly different approach and viewing the scenario through an analytical lens, gives you the ability to not make an irrational decision, and in some cases, perhaps make the catastrophic decision to give up. The more you take this approach, the more often you can quickly harness its ability.

Zooming out again, if you are then able to approach the days analytically, which leads to approaching the weeks analytically, months and then years, which allows you to forego the urge to have it now, which allows you to remain an innovative solutions creator. These are crucial skills to acquire for those new to business (and actually for anyone). It is however, important to note, that this skill isn’t a technical skill (ie no formal training/ learning) but is more a foundational skill which is created from within.

We speak with many people, organisations and businesses on the importance of not only teaching their people the technical skills capable of doing the job, but also the foundational element of the organisation, sometimes referred to as the values of the business.

Delayed gratification allows you as the entrepreneur or new business owner, the ability to not react emotionally to the delays or cancellations, but approach it with a fresh and de-stressed approach. This allows you to overcome that adversity and forge a new path through the difficulty. One of my key values that I was taught in the Royal Marines and will carry with me forever is ‘Cheerfulness in the face of adversity’. Sometimes, when the sh** hits the fan, there is a need to inject some humour into the situation in order to get through it, in the now. Then process it after and look back with pride, on how you were able to overcome and defeat what you thought you would be defeated by. This is, in essence, what resilience is based upon. The ability to get through the struggle and fight through to the other side, because the chances are, what ever is on the other side will be worth the struggle. My favourite quote to help me through this process and one I regularly reflect upon, “difficulty is often followed by opportunity” – Jim Rohn.

I wish you every success and will always be on standby to help new business owners enhance their resilience.

Holly Gregory Associates are providers of HR Consulting and Change Management Services. As HR Practitioners we have both the in-depth knowledge of the HR landscape (current and future HR strategy) but also experienced Change Agents, so you get two in one: HR Employer Services but also HR Project Management. We are known as trusted advisers, safe pair of hands, get in the dirty quickly, have cross sector knowledge, including both the UK and EMEA. We will work with you to implement appropriate new policies and procedures in the best way possible.

Our Outsourced HR Service for small business will suit if you do not currently have the resources to employ a full time HR Manager, especially as we cover a wide range of HR disciplines. It may be the right time to consider the total HR Managed Services package, or nice to be able to pick and mix bespoke elements e.g. Recruitment, Interim HR Business Partner, Disciplinary, Grievance, HR Operations or help with Redundancy and Employee Relations. We can also act on a retainer for a couple of days a month for some HR oversight and advice e.g. managing Employee Performance, TUPE Regulations or what you need to do to ensure you are complaint with the IR35 Legislation.

Our Change Management services tend to suit companies wanting HR change skills, and we have specialist knowledge which comes in handy when managing, for example, TUPE Mergers, HMRC IR35 Private Sector, Business Restructuring, Organisation Design and/or Digital Transformation. When we deploy changes the fact that we are also tech savvy, is an added benefit to our clients, including providing an independent evaluation on which HR Software or HR Solution they may need e.g. is it HRMS or HRIS?