My clients, mentors and most of my closest friends all have one major thing in common…they are all entrepreneurs. This being the case, you could imagine that I spend a lot of time around those involved in entrerpreneurship! I am with entrepreneurs as they express their challenges and share obstacles that lay ahead of them. I am also there to celebrate their success and pat them on the back after a job well done. They do the same for me.
Growing pains is a topic that arises frequently in many of my conversations. The most successful entrepreneurs sacrifice short term gains with the goal of creating something far more valuable in the future. When sacrificing in the short term there is often pain and discomfort associated with that. This may even involve having to share one can of tuna with your business partner as you struggle to help your company take off after leaving extremely high paying jobs. (Ask Dio & James who shared their story with me yesterday!)
Comfort is nice, but it breeds complacency. Complacency is the Kryptonite of an entrepreneur. You’ll never reach your potential if you’re complacent. To grow you have to take the leap into uncertainty (learn more about my leap). When I was younger my dad always reiterated that when you are completely comfortable that means you are performing on the current level you’re on. Essentially meaning that you are in your “comfort zone” and not growing. At this level you only have two options – stay the same, or decline.
When you are uncomfortable it may mean that you’re experiencing growing pains. If that is the case…Congrats! That means you’re growing!
The question is how do you know if you are indeed experiencing growing pains, or symptoms of an ailing pain that can take your venture out of commission? If you’re experiencing growing pains…what is the growth rate and growth potential? Could you or your venture grow more in another environment, situation or market?
Here is the deal. When you are uncomfortable that means you are either…
1) Trying to adapt yourself, venture, or startup idea to the changing world or circumstances around you.
2) Trying to adapt the world around you to your vision for yourself, venture or startup.
Not to get philosophical, but water flows in the path of least resistance. It is much easier to follow the pattern of water and adapt yourself, venture or startup to the changes occurring in the world than try to force the world to change to fit what is in your head.
If you are touching your toes in an elevator that is going up you will be much higher than if you’re reaching up high inside an elevator that is on the ground level.
You may be way ahead of your time, but is the market ready for your innovation yet? Do you have the resources to educate a market that your solution is there for a problem they may not even realize they have? Could your time be better spent with another more timely innovation? (If you’re like me…ideas are never the problem).
It is definitely a challenge to answer these questions.
One important lesson is to get out of your own head! Talk to your market, look at your numbers, and assess “unbiased research” from creditable sources – Don’t seek to only find research that confirms what is in your head! It is easy to do.
Growing can be difficult, but we didn’t get into entrepreneurship to take the easy route.
Happy growing everyone!