I recently read an article titled “Start-ups, 80% of your growth depends on this”. The article outlined stages that typical companies go through as they grow, complete with timelines for each stage.
Read between the lines though and the author’s point is clear: if you work hard and follow the rules, you too can someday build a company and have moderate success like him.
I’m sure the author meant well, but the idea that I (or anyone for that matter) need to follow a prescribed path to mediocrity is complete crap.
So then, how do you stop playing to the 80% and instead create things that shatter glass ceilings and truly change the game?
Focus on the Top
First, you have to find the people and companies that inspire you, and convince yourself that you are equally capable. Learn how they operate, how they think, what they read, what they believe about the universe and then determine what attributes ring true to you.
Stop reading what everybody else reads and start thinking differently. It will be painful at first, but don’t worry- you’ll get used to it.
Surround yourself with Outliers
It’s easy to find people to tell you that you’re not Steve Jobs or Barack Obama or whoever you aspire to become. Or that your company isn’t Google or Facebook or [fill in the blank].
It’s also easy to believe them.
Its not, however, so easy to find people that believe you are capable of breaking the status quo. Yet, these are the very people you need to surround yourself with.
The reason people watch videos of Steve Jobs interviews isn’t just because he created the iPhone and built one of the coolest companies on the planet- it’s because he believes you can too. His words inspire others to reach higher. He’s not protecting his privileged status in society. These are the people we must listen too.
If you can’t sit next to Steve Jobs, study him.
and Ask Different Questions…
What do the outliers know that you don’t? What did they do different? What didn’t they do that everyone else does? What did they hack? What patterns emerge? How do they inspire you?
“Man becomes what he thinks about, all day.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Once you start asking different questions you start finding different answers. Do this consistently and you start believing that bigger things are possible.
And once you believe something is possible, it is.