I often get discouraged as I see a lot of people share some of their amazing entrepreneurial successes. Admittedly, the discouragement lasts about five minutes (and usually drives me to take an action of some sort), but it is still there.
Part of it is the desire to just have 12-15 hours a day to focus on the ideas that flow into my mind. There are a lot of other important priorities going on in life right now that really do need my focus. If I don’t take this time to focus on them, there will be failures – not just for myself, but for a lot of other people.
So, I keep asking myself the frustrating questions:
- Why am I inspired with these ideas if I can only take a small amount of time to act on them?
- Will I miss “my special opportunity” if I don’t fully engage it pursuing them right now?
- What if someone else gets to it before I do?
- Can I still make money when I finally do get to put a little more time into it?
I cannot be alone in asking these questions. Regardless of whether or not they are the right questions to ask, the mind goes there.
But, this morning I had a spiritual nudge. A nudge prompting that gave me some peace.
I’ve been through this before. I haven’t been quite ready for what was there for me, and the success was able to wait.
When I was in grade school there was a yearly publication that came out in the school district. It was a booklet filled with short stories, poems, and pictures drawn by children all over the school district. I loved the booklet and looked forward to seeing it each year and hoped to be a part of it. But, I wasn’t a big short story or poetry writer. I was, however, ok in art class. So, I started thinking of submitting an entry. It couldn’t hurt to enter the contest, right?
I was in the fifth grade and picked up the special paper that was used to submit entries into the contest. I decided to draw a picture for the cover. Yep, I was all in! I drew the picture and my classmates and teacher loved it. They were actually excited for me to enter it into the contest. Something in me said that I would win with this entry. Do you have these moments where you just know? I knew.
But, for some reason I had filled something in wrong on the special submission paper. Perhaps I had used the wrong ink pen or had made a spelling error. Regardless, it meant that I had to start over on a new piece of submission paper. It shouldn’t have been a big deal because I had drawn it so many times. But, something in my head switched. I got nervous and knew that I would make a mistake on the next sheet and I wouldn’t have another chance. I think there was a limit on how many sheets you were allowed. It seems crazy now, but I gave up! I figured that I wouldn’t be able to make it better than it was and I dropped out. My teacher was completely surprised by my lack of enthusiasm and so were my parents.
A year later the contest came up again. I had that feeling within me that I was the person to win the cover. The same feeling that I had in the past. So, I asked my new and old teacher if it was ok for me to submit what I had drawn the year before and they said it was completely fine. I drew it again and submitted it.
A few weeks or months later (who knows at this point in life how long it actually was) they announced who had gotten entries into the coveted booklet. My entry had won the cover!
Talk about pure sixth grade joy!
Even if you know something, it is still a shock when it actually happens.
This was one of the first of many life experiences where I realized that sometimes what you are supposed to do…can wait. Yes, we feel like we “miss” some opportunities along the way. But, have we really missed them? Were they intended for us? Would they lead us in the direction we fully intend on going? In my case, would there have been a selection committee that wasn’t quite ready to value my entry?
Short term, it can hurt. Seeing others gain success in something that we’d like to pursue is hard when we are chomping at the bit to get to that point. But, this “waiting” period might be invaluable to us and our idea. It may be a time to continue to build skills, learn lessons and observe others that are on the same path. We may be able to fine tune our idea. We may realize that we should apply our idea in a different setting. We may realize that the idea will mess with our personal values in a way we weren’t expecting. The idea may lose importance over time.
Does this mean we should stop the pursuit right now? NO.
This is a time to take a long term perspective on some of our goals and aspirations. If something else is taking priority in life right now, and that priority is aligned to your personal values and those we are accountable to, we most put those things first. In fact, focusing on those priorities can become invaluable experiences that make our idea more focused, more powerful and faster to implement once the idea gets front and center priority in our lives.
So, can success wait?
Yes, it can. Just use the “wait” toward preparing yourself for a bigger and better success.