Understanding the Misunderstood

December was a hell of a ride for the Pladson family.

My wife was diagnosed with vertigo. My son started the month off with double ear infections and pneumonia. My dog, well, kept on being my dog. Empathy and patience were a must. They always are, but especially at the close of 2012.

I consider myself to be a work-in-process empathizer. Patience? Not so much. For the past few weeks, both were tested. Good thing it was for those I love most.

Putting patience into perspective is important. Personally and professionally. Impatience oftentimes leads to misunderstanding. Misunderstanding leads to frustration. All of this happens daily and getting sidetracked by it gets us nowhere.

Every day, we do things for the first time. Whether we’re aware of it or not. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, articulates this in a much more graceful fashion.

If you’re inventing and pioneering, you have to be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.

Those of us who intentionally do things for the first time every day understand this misunderstanding.

Earlier this week, I spent nearly two hours explaining what I do to my neighbors. They misunderstand what I do for a living to be advertising. Which is frustrating and understandable at the same time. When we finally came to a compromise of understanding, my neighbor asked me, “How long do you think it will take for people to understand?” Great question. Coincidentally, I stumbled across the Jeff Bezos quote the next day in Harvard Business Review.

Marketers should be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time. This means you have a healthy impatience and unwillingness to simply subscribe to the status quo. But we have to understand the misunderstood. Otherwise, we’ll get nowhere.