How long does it take to make a chocolate sundae?

When I first started my business, I was impatient for success.

I launched Coach Cam in June 2014, and I figured by December of the same year I could have a full book of business.

December came and I had four clients – far from hitting that target. “Ok, I can fill my book of business in another six months,” I thought to myself. That date came and I had six clients—not even close. “Ok, maybe by this time next year, I’ll be booked solid.” Again, I missed it.

It was becoming a bit ridiculous, and I was becoming ridiculously hopeless.

“How much longer will I have to struggle and suffer? How much longer will I let myself down, let my parents down, let my future wife down?” I asked myself. These thoughts haunted me for months.

Through some powerful coaching I realized I was unconsciously asking myself only one question: "How long until I get there?" Every time I realized I wasn’t “there”energy would drain out of my body like an untied balloon.

That began to shift—and eventually change—my thinking.

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Let’s imagine I asked you to make a chocolate sundae right now. How long do you think that would take? 

Take a moment and make a guess. (Really! You can do it :)

Unless you’re reading this in the Utah desert, you’re at least 30 minutes from a grocery store. Let’s estimate it’ll take you 15 minutes to buy everything, 30 to travel home, and another 10 to concoct your chocolaty creation. Less than 90 minutes in total.

But how long did it really take to make that chocolate sundae? 

How long did it take to raise the dairy cow old enough to milk it? How long did it take to grow and harvest and process the sugar cane? How long did it take to grow the cocoa, vanilla, and all the other ingredients?

Cacao trees take 3-5 years to yield a crop, sugar can take 9-24 months to yield, and it takes at least a year to raise a Holstein to milking age. So, at best, three years. 

That’s a long time to wait for a sundae.

I often hear people complain about how the internet and smartphones and YouTube are making young people impatient—and that might be true, but I would argue that something much more tangible is influencing our collective patience: The technology of society itself. Society gives us natural materials—milk, meat, wood, asparagus and chocolate sundaes—in no time.

It removes us from the natural world, tricking us into believing that we don’t have to obey nature, that we can control nature, and that things can happen quickly. But in reality, we are still as much a part of the natural world as the Robin outside your window.

And in the natural world, things take time. A long time. The transition from winter to spring doesn’t happen in one burst, nor do flowers bloom overnight.

Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished. - Lau Tzu  

Through the insights I gained from coaching, I started realizing that the vision I'm building for my business, my career, my impact will take a long time. Much longer than 6 months. That’s not only OK, but expected.

I started asking myself a much different questionWhat’s next? What’s the next step I need to take? What’s the single most important thing I can improve right now?

Think about the whole of your life—your impact, that dream home, that yearlong sabbatical, your side-hustle, that houseboat or pop-up camper you want to buy…

Where are you asking yourself, “How long until I get there?”

Where could you be more patient than you are now?


Thanks so much for reading the Coach Cam blog! It means the world to me.

This week I want to highlight KNOCK ON, an incredible business started by one of my clients - Stefanie Alther.

KNOCK ON exists to end the problem of baby abandonment by selling baby clothes made from native cloth by native women, whose funds support a baby drop box (and eventually sex education) in Bali, Indonesia. (And eventually all over the world.)

Only a year after conceiving the idea, the store is live! Check it out here, and if you believe in the cause, share it with a friend in need of baby clothes. :)