Yesterday I talked about why I chose to study abroad in Copenhagen and how it led to my why of coaching women entrepreneurs. Today, I write about how being patient like a Dane, specifically a Danish store clerk dealing with non-Danes (yours truly) trying to speak in Danish but failing and needing to switch almost immediately to English.
It’s so important to be patient when you are an entrepreneur. And I would say especially so as a woman entrepreneur because there are so many demands on your time – mentally, physically, and emotionally. I know you are a person with loads going on and it’s challenging to get everything done the way you want to do it – professionally and personally. So patience is key for getting it right. Getting it right in your heart, in your business, and in your life.
Why is patience so important? It takes time to build up your audience. To decide on your short- and long-term goals. To figure out exactly where you’re going and what exactly you want your business to be. You need time to flesh out the big picture of who you’re helping, how you’re doing it, and what your brand is.
Watching the Danes made me want to share my observations on patience with you because they are very patient with their audience.
My case study is with shop clerks. It’s interesting because they want customers to follow the rules, to know what they want, and to handle the interaction smoothly. However, when that’s not quite how it goes down, for example, me fumbling with confused Danish, not knowing to take a number, not knowing 249 in Danish when called out, not understanding simple questions – well. . . you get the idea, they act in kindness and patience to switch to English, finish the transaction, and wish me a nice day. They do this without making people feel stupid.
In fact, I went into a wool shop today and I sounded Danish enough until she asked a specific question and I had to answer, “Jeg taler Engelsk.” She said, “Oh! I thought you were Danish.” I explained that I once knew more but had forgotten and she answered that it is a very tough language and to let her know if I needed anything. Friendly all the way. She didn’t make me feel less than for not knowing.
I think that’s such an important lesson for your business. It’s important that you’re kind to your customers and you give them the grace of not knowing. Maybe they don’t know exactly what you do. Or how you can help. It’s good of you – and ultimately beneficial for you – to explain what you do. And explain it multiple times because they may not have heard it before. And they likely don’t want to ask again for fear of seeming not knowledgeable.
It reminds me of my youngest learning to walk. He wobbles and trips and falls and is unsteady. But he keeps trying and working on it. I don’t stop him. I’m patient and kind and helpful on his journey. It’s worthwhile to remember that for your business.
I’m regularly wobbling and tripping and stumbling and questioning if I go this way or that. I would be surprised if you didn’t feel that way in your business. It takes time to build a foundation. To figure out where you’re going. To decide on the small goals, the big goals, how you get there.
So you just need to have grace for yourself. Be kind. Be patient. And do business like a Dane. Know what you expect. Expect the highest quality because your customers will expect the highest quality of you. You need the patience to get there.
What do you think? Does this resonate? Let me know!
Hej Hej (which is Bye in Danish 🙂 )