One of the most difficult things for me to learn about running a business was when to back off and let things go. As any blogger or webmaster can tell you, watching traffic stats or other metrics can be addicting. You want to know how much traffic is coming to your website, where it is coming from, where it is going, etc.
The same thing can apply to your finances, business, career, or anything else which you are passionate about – especially when you are excited – such as when you are just beginning your journey or you reach a new milestone.
This is especially true about parenting. As the father of a newborn girl, I want to be there for every moment. I want to see her when she rolls over, sits up, crawls, speaks, walks, etc.
But then you realize your child is going to grow up regardless of what you do, and will even thrive if you just give her the space she needs to discover things on her own. So while that may mean less peaking in on her during nap time to make sure she is still breathing, it also means the new milestones come as a surprise, and thus, are more special.
A business, or your career, or your finances, or anything else dear to you is the same way. You need to pay attention and nurture it, but you don’t need to miss the forest for the trees. Instead of getting caught up in the minute to minute or hour to hour trends, take a step back and take a 30 thousand foot view.
What is the daily trend? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly?
Failure happens. It is natural to be disappointed when it takes longer to pay of your credit cards than you thought it would, or if you miss a promotion at work, or you fall short on any other goal. But failure is an opportunity to grow and learn, and sometimes that is more valuable in the long run.
Success and growth take time, and the goal is to see a positive trend as time goes by. That means making plans and following them, and making adjustments when major events dictate changes need to be made. And 99% of the time, slow and steady will win out.
So the next time you get impatient by a perceived lack of progress, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Sometimes you are making more progress than you think you are. Sometimes you just need to let it breathe.
Originally published Dec 23, 2009 on my personal finance website, CashMoneyLife.com.