In the preliminary stages of building my business, I experienced countless moments of impatience with myself because things were not moving as fast as I wanted them to. I found myself saying phrases like “It is taking so long!” and “I can’t understand why building a business takes so much time.” I was ready for growth and ready to see the fruits of my labor, so why couldn’t everything happen NOW?
One day, I was expressing my frustrations to my mentor, Barry, on the phone and he listened patiently. But during this particular phone call, he paused for an unusually long time after I spoke. It was as if he were bracing the two of us for the weighty words of wisdom he was about to bestow upon me. He said, “Dima, the reason things are taking time is because you are like bamboo.”
I was bewildered! Those were most definitely not the words of wisdom I was expecting from him. “What do you mean I’m like bamboo?”
He laughed and explained his strange metaphor. “Bamboo,” he said, “takes five years to grow. When you look at bamboo within its first few years of growth, you can’t see anything above ground! But as you water and fertilize the seemingly empty ground everyday, tremendous things begin to happen beneath the surface. The bamboo plant spreads its strong roots and obtains the necessary water and nutrients for its special showcase. In the fifth year, after it has built its root network, the bamboo tree will then skyrocket into the air.”
His point was that we must think of growth in relation to building a strong foundation; the network, brand, reputation, unique products, experience, confidence, and more. Just like the growth cycle of bamboo trees, our roots take many years to develop beneath the surface, and there are many times where we may feel that nothing is happening, but this is simply not true. Just like Barry taught me this valuable lesson three years ago, I want to share with you and encourage you to think of yourselves like bamboo as well.
Let’s stop judging ourselves and asking for instant gratification, and instead let’s realize that building something meaningful and long-lasting does take time. By knowing this, we will find ourselves more motivated and willing to put in the work everyday.
What really matters is being ready with our strong roots and stable foundation when opportunities show up. Then, we will be ready for our dreams to sprout upward and onwards.
Be patient, my friends, and keep on growing.