Importance of ‘Just hanging’ in there!
Just hanging in there…
If there is one trait — which I believe trumps most deficiencies — that would be — persistence. I have spoken of it many times and would like to perhaps explain it through another example.
Not even one successful person can say he/she became an overnight success. People put in a lifetime of hard work before one fine day, it starts to get noticed, and things begin to change. If you speak to them — they will be able to narrate several meltdowns, bad patches, failures, sacrifices, sleepless nights, anxiety, not so logical risks, near misses, broken bonds etc — all of which played a part in them getting here.
Yes, there are good things too but there are challenges as well! What the world sees is success only. In one discussion on this topic (overnight success) my wife shared a line she had read somewhere, it was something like ‘everyone can see the GUCCI shoes, no one can see the blisters under’ — so true, This is the case with all of us.
We are all work in progress and someday we will arrive, on the way, there will be ups and downs,( and blisters too) but all others would note is — overnight success. Till that happens, the trick is to hang in there, not give up and keep trying.
Pro Tip — Do whatever is good for your peace of mind. Staying positive is an imperative/ stay away from energy vampires (read this if you haven’t) at all cost / have compulsory ME time — could be movies / playing with your kids/ maintain gratitude journal etc.
How to look at life when you are hanging in there…
Let me explain it another way. Think of yourself as a plane. Let’s say we are all aeroplanes (alive for a day).
For every plane (start-up) waiting at the tarmac, all planes flying high above look so majestic, so cool. One can wonder, they are flying so so so high above (numbers/valuation), how will we ever get there. While all it would take is — letting the planes ahead of you take off (& clear the runway), a NOD from the ATC and you’d be up there in minutes.
Use planes flying as motivation — if they can, so can we — it’s just a matter of time. On delay — Many times it’s not even about you, maybe the plane ahead developed some snag, maybe there is a bird on the tarmac or another plane wanted an emergency landing or even congestion at your destination! Just wait for your time.
Till you get your final take off nod, you need to be ready for the flight –- Keep the engines running (show up!)! Have your passengers seated nicely and safely (investors/team), Do all the mandatory checks (Unit economics / be prudent), follow the checklist (compliances), have faith (great products) and wait (hang in there)! Your take-off might get delayed a little for many reasons — don’t get anxious.
Don’t let any plane flying high above inject any insecurities — you don’t know how long did they have to wait, what kind of passengers they have, do they have enough load to justify the flight or are they at a loss, what all did they have to sacrifice to deserve the flight, what distance they have already travelled / need to travel — from outside its all calm and cool. You don’t have any idea about the struggles within.
I also think we are not competing with anyone except ourselves. The only one you need to ‘outsmart’ is yourself — how you were yesterday, a month ago, a year ago — progress has to be measured against that.
Competition with others is like racing with unknown cars on the highway!
When I was young(er), thanks to the adrenaline rush — whenever someone used to overtake there was an unsaid ‘competition’ — for next 10–15–30 minutes — it used to be all about overtaking the other (and speed ! without enjoying the view, taking reckless decisions — not watching for potholes etc) and vice versa. And then — they would just disappear or we would take another road.
In todays’ context, I believe even those drives had something to teach — Even if someone seems to be in a hurry (or competing ostensibly) and does overtake you, the better way to see it is
- I have no idea what his urgency is
- It’s a never-ending highway, we all got on from the middle of a road and will get off in the middle somewhere.
- No one is winning this. The one who is ‘apparently racing’ with you, is perhaps fighting far more complex battles you have no clue about (flight to catch / some sickness at home / limited time etc).
- You don’t even know what’s his destination/expectation or if he is competing with you or if he is out to prove a point to someone else altogether — the same is the case in business!
- If you must compete — know this — Most of the current guys in your list of competition won’t even matter in 5 years (believe me on this ! The guys I considered competition in my previous businesses, don’t exist in my life today)
Don’t let this burn your blood. Just concentrate on your vehicle, watch out for potholes, your numbers (fuel/tyre pressure/exits) don’t drive recklessly and stay on course! Sooner or later we all will reach where we are meant to be — if we just drive safe.
On a more humble note — don’t have unrealistic expectations. The point is to enjoy the ride. Also remember — no one can fly in the air forever, or drive forever — whatever goes up has to come down, everyone will halt at some time — for someone else to fly/lead!