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    Mondays with Mac: Learn When to Wait

    July 21, 2008 1893 Views

    I'll be the first to admit that patience has not been one of my best virtues. However, as I've grown older, and hopefully wiser, I've come to appreciate its incredible power. In hindsight, I see that some of the major mistakes I made could have been avoided had I been more patient.

    In 1984, shortly after I sold McCord Travel, we started a small publishing company called Great Quotations. Our format was simple – each of our thirty titles had eighty pages with a single quote on the page. Our primary market was to hotel and airport gift shops.

    The concept "took off" and within a year we had sold about a million books….but there was a problem. Because of the book's size and type of binding, none of the regional printing companies could do the job cost effectively. We had a choice: (1) we could source the book overseas where hand labor was inexpensive, or (2) we could purchase printing and custom collating equipment to do the work in-house.

    I was impatient and decided to buy the equipment. Well it was one of the worst business decisions I have ever made. Two years, and a million dollars later, we closed the printing operation, sold the equipment, and found an overseas source that did the job for half the price, with none of the headaches.

    Fast is not always best. Had I been more patient and done a little more homework, I would have avoided the headaches and heartaches of going through the learning curve.

    Recently, I had a speaking engagement in Hawaii. I arrived about midnight and a driver met me at the airport to take me to my hotel. He was a young man with a real passion for life. On the way to the hotel, he shared his love for surfing. I asked him if it was dangerous and he said, "Very dangerous, if you don't know what you're doing." He said many people drown when a large wave takes them under and there instincts tell them to fight to get back to the surface. The key, he said, is to do just the opposite; let your body go limp and the currents will bring you to the surface.

    This can also be a life lesson. When you face adversity, be focused but patient, and the right answers will usually surface before you know it.

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