Do you want to know the surest way to fail? It’s to begin doing something, think you’re not succeeding, then give up and blame other people or reasons for why you haven’t become an “industry leader.” The biggest excuse I find from people who launch a business or new venture is this:
“There are too many other people better at doing what I do.”
There it is. Take that, print it out, place it on your mirror, or on your iPhone Notes and look at that quote every day. It does have some value. Because very often, it’s true. Yes, there are many other people better at doing what you do. That’s life. Guess what? There are many better writers out there than me. There are better entrepreneurs. Better coaches. Better public speakers.
And I accept that. I’m at peace with that. But from the moment I launched my coaching business two years ago, as well as my writing and speaking careers, I made myself a very important promise:
I promised myself I’d never, ever give up. And then I promised myself to never get discouraged that I wasn’t the best, or that there were “too many other people doing what I do.” You need to promise yourself the same thing. I truly believe this is just as important to success as having a great idea, persevering through down times and working hard.
What about you? Do you find yourself getting discouraged too easily?
Concern yourself with you
I have the good fortune of knowing and working with some extremely successful people. I’ve coached CEOs of major companies, worked with startup founders, grown up with successful band musicians, comediennes and broadcasters. None of these people ever let the fact that someone else was doing what they were doing get in their way.
“Success doesn’t happen overnight. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t look back.” – Erin Andrews
They kept practicing their craft, embraced their talents for what they were, and found inspiration in role models and success stories they admired. They realized there are very few linear paths to success, and by breaking the mold and mixing in new ideas with a tireless work ethic, they believed they’d forge their own path and achieve success on their terms.
Take this from Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of the book, “9 Things Successful People Do Differently”
“In many studies we’ve been able to show that when people think about what they’re doing, whether they’re taking a very difficult test of some kind, or working on a project over weeks at a time … when (people)think about something they’re going to improve on, that they’re going to develop over time, that they might make mistakes along the way. But that’s OK because you learn from those mistakes, and over time you’ll really come to master this.” Source: HBR
Entry into a saturated field is not a bad decision. Having an original idea, believing that you can do it better than everyone else eventually, even if you’re not capable of it now, is the best mindset for approaching a new venture. You cannot think that you’re wasting time. This is where you need to steel yourself mentally and emotionally so that you don’t end up being yourself.
And it’s truly why consistency, repetition and belief in yourself matter. The only person stopping you is you — it’s not the industry leaders, it’s not your perceived competitors who are on the journey with you. It’s you. I wasted time in my earlier years stopping and starting writing for websites like Bleacher Report and HuffPost. I didn’t have what it took at the time to sustain myself to keep going.
Have you found a similar pattern in your life? Have you got caught “star-gazing” and concerning yourself too much with how competitive your field is? Whether you’re trying to launch a new social media app, looking to build a digital media company or perhaps launching a new healthcare product, please stop beating yourself up over why you haven’t arrived yet.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger could have never bothered starting Instagram by looking around and seeing that Vine and Facebook already existed. But they believed there was a market for a social media app that has now become one of the industry leaders in photo and video sharing. It’s changed the way we consume and experience media.
Here again from Ms. Halvorson is further fuel to help you build grit and perseverance to not give up or worry about what you don’t have:
“We find that the people who lack grit tend to be those who believe that abilities are fixed, that you sort of either win the DNA lottery or you don’t. And you are born smart, or you’re born creative, or you’re born a good leader or you’re not. And so when they encounter difficulty and things are challenging to them, that don’t come easily, they are very quick to conclude, well, I guess I’m just not good at this. I guess I lack this ability. And so they give up. So grit really is just fundamentally about hanging in there.” Source: HBR
Enter the fray. Have a plan. And don’t concern yourself with the other people who are already in your field. They’re not blocking you. They’re inadvertently making you better by forcing you to produce your best product and work hard. There are no barriers to entry. No one is standing in your way. Remove the mental and emotional obstacles, and you’ll find yourself creating truly beautiful work.
This article first appeared on Medium.