Success Is What You Say It Is

Successful people start before they’re ready.

That's the bottom line of an article shared with me over the weekend.

Thinking a little more about the idea of success, it occurred to me that it's a two step process.

One: Yes! Start before you’re ready.

If you’re working on something important, then you’ll never feel ready. A side effect of doing challenging work is that you’re pulled by excitement and pushed by confusion at the same time.

You’re bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, and unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what you have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, and revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start.

Because creators actively cultivate a skepticism about their own doubt, which means that they don't let the fear of failure stop them from actually falling down from time to time, they're able to put self-doubt in context. That's an important skill that any entrepreneur or artist can appreciate. There's a certain risk tolerance that characterizes every successful person, regardless of temperament. Here, I really like what Susan Cain says:

Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it's a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.

But equally important in my view is that truly successful people also maintain an equilibrium that avoids another problem altogether, that of "performancism." The internal drive that puts fear in its place also knows achievement is a personal thing.

Success is what they say it is.

Stay curious!


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