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Monday, October 22, 2007

A story for the tool box

The Anxiety of Waiting to be Successful
Becoming successful is a stressful process.
Aside from the trials and tribulations of building a company we often create an entirely separate bucket of anxieties just worrying about our own career paths.
We worry that we're not already successful enough. We worry that we're not growing as quickly as our peers are. We worry that if we can't take our company public like that twenty-something kid did, we're just not worthy.All of this anxiety is not only self-imposed, it's largely self-destructive.While being driven to achieve, succeed and win can send us to great heights, they can also distract and demoralize us from actually becoming successful.
There are a few techniques that can help you transform that useless anxiety into very practical energy to help move you and your company forward.
Make Successful Milestones
Success rarely happens as one incredible moment where the skies part, the rays of brilliance shine down, and a harmonious choir sings your name a cappella.
Success isn't a destination, it's a series of successful milestones that leads to a destination. Instead of worrying about where you'll be in ten years, worry about where you'll be in ten days, or ten weeks. For example, let's say that you wanted to build a company to $100 million in sales. Instead of worrying about getting to $100 million, you need to be laser focused on getting to $1 million. While the $100 million goal is nice, it's a distraction until you get to your $1 million goal as quickly as possible.The milestones along the path to success are not incidental. They aren't simple road markers that just happen to remind you that you are heading in the right direction. Every one of those milestones is success, and as of today, those milestones are the only thing that should matter.
Don't Compare
Another mistake is comparing your performance and path to success to someone else's. If you read enough biographies of successful entrepreneurs, you'll learn one commonality no one knew that their path would end up where it did.Bill Gates didn't know that creating a computer operating system would lead to the largest computer software company in the world. Richard Branson didn't know that signing Boy George and Phil Collins would make Virgin the music label that it became. Their incredible success at an early age had nothing to do with comparing themselves with the progress of others it had to do with their focus on their own progress and timelines.
Driving yourself to beat others and their progress is a useless feat. At it's core it's disingenuous what someone else does should not dictate your path. Beyond that, it's just a waste of valuable time and attention.Instead of comparing your career to someone else's', compare your progress against your own commitments. Whether or not you made more money than the Google guys by your early 30's isn't the point. Whether you left the office this week without creating more value than last week is definitely the point.
Avoid Arbitrary Deadlines
In some cases we create a pre-conceived notion of when in our lives we should be successful. We assign arbitrary milestones like by age 30 or by the time I retire or before my dad did it in his career to our success goals.That's like Barry Bonds saying that he's going to hit his record breaking home run on the 7th day of August against the Washington Nationals. He couldn't possibly know when that moment was going to arrive until it was practically there.
No, Bonds just kept swinging for the fences until enough balls went out of the park.
Creating deadlines for success is largely a wasted process. Nothing magical happens when you turn 30 (I know, I tried it) and nothing you do more quickly than your old man will make your life any better.Your career timeline is your own, and no one else's path should have any bearing on yours. If you really want to kick butt, set a record that someone else will have to worry about breaking by some point in their life. Mark your territory with your own accomplishments, not the retraction of someone else's.
Get Focused
Look, you can drive yourself insane trying to beat everyone else and still wind up nowhere.
Or you can put on blinders and have complete tunnel vision on your own success. Think of every moment that you spend worrying about what someone else has done, or whether you've achieved enough by some arbitrary date as a step backward.
Instead, use those moments of negative self-reflection as a time to think of something that you can get accomplished. If you can manage to stay positively focused on the path ahead, you won't have to worry about when you'll be successful or how. That part will take care of itself.

From the Go Big Network

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