A friend of mine called me crying the other day. She had been working really hard on her business for the past two years and she felt she was exactly where she was when she started. An hour later, after we spoke for a while, she felt completely different: happy, energized and ready to take over the world. In this blog post I want to share with you what I told her.
Growth Is Exponential, Not Linear
We tend to think that growth looks like this:

But, in my experience, it goes more like this:

The reason is that we normally measure our results by how much money we make, and at the beginning it’s very difficult to make a lot of money because:

  • We don’t have the right connections.
  • We don’t understand our industry very well. We don’t know what kind of marketing works and we don’t know what’s the best way to approach our prospects.
  • We don’t know how to attract the right talent to work for us.
  • We have very little money to work with.
  • We don’t even know what product we should sell.

I’ll give you an example of what my business model looked like 10 years ago and what it looks like now.

My point is that it becomes easier and easier every time. It’s great that you measure your success by how much money you’re making, but that’s not the only thing you should be measuring. You should also be thinking about all the connections you’re creating, all the marketing discoveries you’re making (what works for your product and what doesn’t) and how much you’re learning about what your potential clients want.
Even more importantly: self-confidence builds up on itself. The more of it you have, the more you achieve, and the more you achieve, the more self-confidence you get. That’s why things become easier and easier every time. You start believing more in yourself and your ability to make things happen.
Think about it this way: you’re planting seeds today. Don’t expect to see a fully-grown tree tomorrow. Just keep watering. Don’t lose perspective. You ARE making progress. You just can’t see it yet.
It Always Seems Easier for Other People
My friend was like, “But look at you, five years ago you could barely pay your bills. Look at where you are now!” I was flattered, but I had to be honest. This is what I told her: “I wrecked five companies in my life. Fifty people lost their jobs because of my mistakes. I had over $100,000 in credit card debt for five years. I was such a terrible boss that several of my employees decided to walk away.” Overnight success doesn’t happen overnight. When you’re feeling down, don’t try to push those feelings away. It’s normal to feel down sometimes. We’re human. Just try to understand why you’re feeling that way and then let go. Keep planting seeds. Keep watering them. When the first little leaf starts coming out to light, you’ll be happy you never gave up.