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 Why waiting to act becomes the only act and how to ‘snap’ the bad habit

Why waiting to act becomes the only act and how to ‘snap’ the bad habit

With the South African elections now come and gone, it feels like we have passed a milestone that we were all holding our breath for.

So much business activity seems to have been put on hold as we waited for the elections, and it reminded me of my favourite business book, Dr Seuss’s “Oh! The Places You’ll Go”. He describes the ‘waiting place’. It a place where all the reasons and excuses not to act and not to keep moving stay, and its where everything goes to die. Especially the most important thing in the world, time.

Potential is in your hands

Many of us are sitting with incredible privilege and potential in our hands… and waiting. Potential is not there forever. Think of youth: it runs out. Think of energy: it runs out. In a business, potential needs to be nurtured and constantly fed in order to build it further and grow it. Imagine not having a business in this terrible economy – you’d have no options and very little potential. A business means that you can make things happen and that’s the key: You can make things happen.

Imagine being in a massive corporate. It must be terrifying. Big businesses cannot grow in this economy, so they constantly cut and restructure. It cannot be a fun, safe place to be. Compounding this problem, the way of the world is moving to small and growing businesses. The road ahead is where the school of small fish turn on the big fish. I see it every month, the business owners I work with are growing in a zero-growth economy because they are eating the lunch of big business.

Reasons to wait


The elections were meant to be a big reason. Who will get in, what will happen? Many business owners I spoke to were very apprehensive. What if the ANC wins and then they get rid of Ramaphosa? What if the EFF gains big ground and is given a strong hand in the economy? What if…? What if…? and on it went. Now, the election is over but the next waiting reasoning is: But Ace is still in the ANC and what if the pro-Zuma factions of the ANC push Ramaphosa out?.


Many are complaining about access to funding and access to deals and business. They want to wait until the economy picks up a little to support their big move. I often have to remind them that its been this way for over 3 years now and they seem perplexed.


Everyone is negative. People are emmigrating and houses are for sale in every neighbourhood. They find many reasons to emmigrate and some are valid, some are suitable. This view is counterproductive for any business owner. Selling a business in this economic climate is hard since, according to the mood, nobody wants to invest.

How to act and break this cycle

Acknowledge it

This waiting habit is exactly that. It has become a habit. And like any bad habit, it needs to be broken and replaced by new habits that help you get what you want irrespective of the politics, economy and mood. Say it “Hi, my name is Ben and I am waiting”. This acknowledgement will help you take responsibility for the inaction in yourself and your businesses growth. You are the Captain of your ship. You lead your business through your attitude and actions, and this will take it towards success or failure. It’s not outside of your control, its directly in your control.

Avoid negative people and conversations

You attract what you put out. You create your own echo chamber of noise. For example, I chose the last car I bought because it was unusual and so was the colour. That was, until I bought it. As I drove out the dealership, I started to see many such cars - in the same colour. I only realised it once I was aware of it. We only ever hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see. My dad said to me “if you lie with dogs you get up scratching with fleas”. Keep the right company to keep the right mindset. Rid yourself and your business of toxic people.

Empower yourself by acting

Nothing, but nothing, acts to lift your mood, spirit and energy like an act. You can sit and mope about the state of your house but tidying up the mess and giving it a lick of paint acts immediately as an antidote for feeling disempowered. Go out and get a haircut, buy a new shirt, fix the leaking toilet. Each action will build your energy and positivity because they all make you feel better. The best way to snap out of a low activity mindset like brooding or depression is to do something physical. The act lifts your mood and mind and through that, you gain perspective and move towards a place of right activity.

Act small, but start

Don’t try take on big things when you catch yourself stuck in the waiting place. You’ll very quickly find reasons to not act when you think about the enormity of the task, the energy you need to shift the mountain and so on. If it’s a big move, start with small steps but start.

Build your business into an Asset of Value

You cannot lose in this instance. Whether you want to stay in South Africa and grow or leave and try elsewhere. A business built into an Asset of Value is one that is well positioned in a tough economy, has well organised systems and a good team and these features collectively offer you either a path of growth or exit. You cannot lose!

The waiting game is a self-sabotaging act. It makes people blameful and bitter and comes at a great, if not fatal cost to their business. Be sure you are not in this trap. If you are - escape. If you can’t, reach out to us and we will shift you and your business back into positive growth. It’s what we do and why we built ourselves.

Tags: Asset of Value