If you find yourself standing on the accomplishments of your goals only to discover that the view is not as fantastic as you imaged, I welcome you to the next level. You and I realized a long time ago that we were different from all the other children. We jumped off cliffs and built parachutes on the way down while everyone else sat in amazement that we didn’t kill ourselves. We learned that the people telling us something couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be done were usually far less intelligent than we were. We also learned that the people doing amazing things were usually no smarter than we were. And while we’ll tell you that luck doesn’t exist, we have learned that “luck” tends to favor bold moves made by smart people who were paying attention to what no one else could see. These are the things we learned early on.
Somewhere though during our progression, we started to feel this emptiness. I know because I’ve felt it myself. It’s as if the juice isn’t worth the squeeze anymore. It’s not that we aren’t achieving our goals, it’s just that the payoff seems to always be some bastardized version of what we expected. And that realization can infect us like poison as we start to sputter like a car about to run out of gas. Well, sad clown, it’s time to dry those crying eyes and pull your shit together because you just made it to the next level.
Realize that normal people have normal problems. Amazing people have amazing problems. You are an amazing person, who doesn’t have normal problems that normal people can understand. Let me give you an example. Walk into any 7-Eleven in Tennessee and tell the guy behind the counter that you just got your cousin pregnant and you’re not sure what to do. You’ll get an earful of advice. Tell that same 7-Eleven employee that you’re considering outsourcing your inventory storage and shipment to Fulfillment by Amazon. Integrating your website with their API wouldn’t take much programing, allowing you to save money and speed up delivery times, but you’re uneasy about the idea of a partner company holding your entire inventory… He will look at you the same way a cow looks at a trumpet. Or tell him that you’re dating 3 different women, Valentines Day is approaching, and you don’t know what to do. His words will indicate a strange combination of jealousy, disbelief, and cluelessness. As you climb higher, you climb away from the masses. Your peer group will get smaller and smaller until it feels like you are all alone. Understand that you will never see a flock of eagles but that is no reason to want to be a pigeon. Eagles have to seek each other out. You’re an eagle.
Realize that getting it and managing it are two completely different skills. You have to get it before you can even start learning how to manage it. What does this mean? Think about the business you built out of nothing. You literally built something out of nothing, a feat 99% of the world’s population could never achieve. You learned “how to get it” but once you got it, things weren’t as you expected them to be. How could they be any different? You had to “get it” before you could learn how to “run it” and without ever having it before, how could you possibly know what “running it” was going to involve? If you’re doing something completely revolutionary, as people like you and I tend to do, don’t expect the advice of 1,000 men when you’re the first person to walk the path. You’re an explorer.
Realize that if nothing is going wrong, you’re not doing enough. If you’re not failing, you’re not learning. If you want to be immortalized in the history books you’re going to have ride your dreams even as they fly off the rails. That’s right, “failure = good” because “more failure = more learning” and only those with the balls to learn more than everyone else will ever accomplish the incredible. Do you know what part of Edison’s invention of the light bulb got left out of the history books? The part where his next-door neighbor told him after failure 999 that Edison should try shoving the light bulb up his ass. Life is an experiment. Failure and mockery are part of the path to success. You’re an innovator.
Normal people won’t understand you. There is no map for where you’re going. People will laugh at you right up until the day they don’t. This is life for people like you and I, and I say that with a smile on my face, because I’d have it no other way. Know that what you’re going through now is like puberty for entrepreneurs. It will be a little awkward for a few years but it will work itself out because this is who you are. Welcome to the next level.
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