I often think in life, we spend way too much time self-guessing, rationalizing, and assuming things about our plan before we even have a chance to see it through. In most cases, we stop what we are doing because it’s just too risky, our mind comes up with 10 reasonable things to make us stop.
This all leads to fear and doubt which ultimately kills innovation and creativity.
The thing with growing a startup is, that you don’t know right off the bat what will work. You have ideas and can make reasonable deductions based on your target audience and perhaps follow clues. Ultimately, it requires a tremendous amount of experimentation and testing various methods of customer acquisition. Most of these tests will fail and you may only succeed when you’re ready to give up. So within that constant failure, you need an inner strength made up of passion, perseverance, and of course, self-confidence. A great example of this is AirBnB, they had minimal growth for 3 YEARS before they got any traction. I don’t think they just sat around and waited nor do I think they knew what would work, they definitely tried and tried and tried some more and never gave up.
In hindsight, everything looks rosy and successful.
In my own experience, I felt each failure of a growth test was a personal failure, leaving me dejected and discouraged. More recently, after having talked to a mentor, I realized that this was definitely not the way to think. I had my very best in developing and executing on the test and figured out a way to analyze results. If the results ended up being dismal, this was not my fault as it was out of my control. There was no reason for me to take a failed result personally!
An example of this is when I set up a partnership with a related company that has a similar target audience. We each agreed on specific cross-promotion. But guess what, after a few weeks, there was no success from it. Who’s fault is it? Mine? No, I put together the test and whatever happened after that I can’t control. But, what if the partnership went really well and I saw a ton of customers come in from it. Then, is it because of my brilliant foresight to know that this particular partnership would get users? No, it was out of my control. The only thing I did was try my very best and not give up.
So, the point is, how can we live our lives so that we are not allowing fear/doubt cloud our judgement and just letting things go?
Here are three ways actually:
Say YES to everything.
- If Shonda Rhymes can do it, then why can’t I, I admit I do struggle with this. This is an amazing video, I definitely recommend watching this TED talk.
Follow the Four Agreements based on Toltec Teachings (see below).
- I realized that I was taking things personally and making grand assumptions DAILY. Once I became aware of this, I just stopped and made it a habit to recognize myself whenever situations came up. You can’t take whatever is happening externally, whether it be a person or a business result personally. Along with that, living solely based on assumptions and moreover, judgements limits your view on life A WHOLE LOT.
Surrender to Life.
- What this means is basically, don’t let your personal preferences dictate your decisions. If you’re offered a great opportunity or maybe something outside your comfort zone, you may become resistant or hesitant. Don’t say no based on your emotions, just do it. Things come into your life sometimes as clues or sometimes as big announcements. They are basically there for a reason, so you accept what life is giving you vs. trying to control every aspect of it. Life shouldn’t be controlled, you just live it. A great book that goes over this is called the Surrender Experiment where the author recounts his amazing life where he practiced complete surrender. Some of the “coincidences” that happened to him are unreal.
Once you start saying yes to play and yes to new opportunities that take you out of your comfort zone, a new world opens up to you. Moreover, following the rules of not taking things personal and not making assumptions, allow you to learn a lot more about situations and not make judgement calls too soon. I think ultimately, all of these things allow you to be happier, creative, and more successful in your life. Who doesn’t want that?
What do you think? Do you follow any of this thinking?