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The Power of Perseverance and Patience

 Jun 22, 2018 1:00 PM
by Helen Spence

Power of Perseverance and Patience

Following a recent TV interview I found myself reflecting on the implications and challenges of finding oneself on an entrepreneur’s journey post first career.  I was invited to be a guest on the show, “Ottawa Experts”, hosted expertly by Barbara Balfour. As callers reached out with questions, I was struck by how many people were struggling to find their feet following retirement. Several young people and spouses called in to the show to ask for advice on behalf of newly retired parents or partners.  They expressed concern as they watched a growing despondency in their loved ones as retirement began to take root.


Again, it became clear to me that “retirement” as we once knew it is a double-edged sword. If you are lucky enough to have a healthy pension, your new found freedom can be intoxicating----you might travel, indulge in hobbies, volunteer for favourite charities or maybe just enjoy sleeping in… or not! For some people that level of open time can feel daunting, aimless if not overwhelming.


For others, the daydream of endless hours of relaxed time simply isn’t possible for financial reasons. The idea of countless years without a steady income can take on a nightmare quality as panic about how pending unpaid bills begins to sink into reality.  


If unlucky and you have lost a needed job in later life, you may struggle to find meaningful, let alone, any work. In many cases looking for a job can take more than twice as much time as it does for younger counterparts.  It doesn’t help when job experts say that ageism isn’t the reason people aren’t getting hired; “its about your attitude, not your age”. This is a refrain I’ve heard numerous times. It makes me want to take those experts aside and explain that a negative attitude results from searching for five years and watching less qualified candidates take roles you were chasing.


This is when I remind myself of some core principles of an entrepreneurial mindset. There is power in patience and in perseverance. Whether searching for work out of necessity or trying to find your footing post career, perseverance and patience are required.


Once I decided to find another venue to put my energy into, it took years before the idea of building an organization that could help older adults reinvest their passion with purpose came to me. I tried all kinds of things, from travel and volunteering to volunteering that involved travel. It took more time still until I could rally the resources to get started; then more time in development and piloting processes and programs.


Now on the cusp of a formal launch as a membership organization, I need patience as we develop an offering and build a sustainable membership program. I need to persevere in the face of learning all kinds of new “stuff”. Building a website, learning how to use social media, finding free images to put on blogs and in ads, understanding how to use our membership site to take full advantage of it. I never needed to know these things before but I do now which means I often have to remind myself how exciting it is to be learning new skills, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.

Whether the work is in rebuilding self-confidence that has been eroded by rejection or about putting personal power behind an idea that you held for years, you will need both patience and perseverance.


Tips for Building Perseverance


  1. Find moral support from friends and/or family. Starting anything new requires commitment, loyalty and all kinds of support.
  2. Engage with others who are experiencing similar challenges.
  3. Set realistic timelines. If you are not sure how much time it will take to get something done, talk to people who have done it before or read about the experience of others.
  4. Make sure you have the needed resources. It can be very disheartening to start something and not be able to finish it due to human or financial restraints.
  5. Envision the challenges as part of the journey and enjoy yourself.

Ageing Well, Entrepreneurs, Human Resources  


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