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20-Something Question: How Do You Avoid Frustration That You’re Not Moving Faster?

February 25th, 2013

 

Today’s post is about not get distracted by other people’s pace. Sometimes it seems everyone is going faster than you – but it’s not necessarily a race.

I hold live mentoring salons between younger and older entrepreneurs and professionals and during our discussions, this subject often comes up. One 20-something business owner asked: How do you avoid frustration that you are not moving faster?.

“There is this sense of instant success. You read these articles of people who just started a year ago and now they are getting all this investment. And you get his sense of OMG.  You just get bombarded by stories of all these start ups that do really well The timeframe is not ten years anymore it’s like 2 years. And it’s like… I’m late I’m late. It’a already been two years.”

The answers:

“Just turn it off. Stop paying attention or it will drive you crazy.  There are a lot of rogue start-ups who sell in two years. When you sell it to another company you can be destroyed in 2 seconds.” – 40-something entrepreneur

 

“If you are building a service based company you need to nurture it. You need to follow your market, based on their needs.”  — 40-something entrepreneur

 

“We all feel the same way. We are entrepreneurs. We all think, ‘I should be there already. It’s what makes you keep going.‘ – 30-something entrepreneur

 

“Funding not your goal. Your goal is to build a great business and the more time you can hold off on getting outside investment the better. Focus on building the business and validating your idea and bulding  storng product and team. Grow organically as long as you can. Be patient. Rather than hearing all these voices and stories and letting that get you off track.” – 40-something serial entrepreneur

 

I think it’s just noise as long as you know what you are doing. Let it drive you but don’t let is depress you. If you have done your homework, researched and found a market, there is just a point where you have to listen to your vision and your customers and cut out all the rest.

 

This is not that different from any business whether starting up or just starting out.   At any point in our career, we can get caught up in how fast we are moving vs. someone else. Of course you want to make progress and advance but you have to develop your own inner compass. At some point you may realize perhaps it is not the path for you. After all if we all followed the exact same path…it would be a very top-heavy world. This 40-something, global marketing executive who started working in new business at an ad agency after thinking she wanted be a lawyer has found that:

“Keep learning, keep acquiring skills. If you can, keep true to your own magnetic north. Maybe your magnetic north is not about title or about salary. That is fine. Just find what it is. If you care more about having impact or about a particular cause or about working with nice people. Accept it.”

 

And…

 

“Don’t compete with anybody else for your own career. It doesn’t actually matter if someone else gets promoted before you. It doesn’t mean they’re better. It just means that some aspect of it was more important to them, generally, than it is to you.”

 

Success no longer has to be linear… and not all paths are on the same timeline. As long as you are learning, moving and shaking your own goals…try not to get distracted by what everyone else is doing.


One Response to “20-Something Question: How Do You Avoid Frustration That You’re Not Moving Faster?”

  1. Tammy R

    February 25th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Such great advice, Christina. The excerpts you chose to feature are great examples of how it works for different people. The whole idea of magnetic north – making sure it is your magnetic north and not someone else’s – that is something I wish I heard twenty years ago. But I am living proof that it is never too late to change courses. The skills I aquired and the desire to always keep learning have supported me as I evolved into someone I am proud to call “me”.

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