When I started a digital advertising company in college I had no idea what I was doing. I lost other people’s money, did my best to pay it back, learned, and moved on.
When I started a digital greeting card company with my wife and good friend I had no idea what I was doing. We lost our own money, but I learned a little bit more, met a bunch of amazing people in the process, and I moved on.
When I started Bodeefit I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t spend any money to start the company, I made a little money, I licensed the company to a London firm, and then I moved on.
When I started writing my first book I had no idea what I was doing. But I surrounded myself with people that did, I published it, and I moved on.
When I started writing my second book I knew a little bit more, but still mostly had no idea what I was doing. I made it better than the first, published it, and moved on.
And then there are the numerous companies I’ve helped grow strewn throughout the above timeline. In most of those situations, I still only knew a little bit, learned as much as I could, and kept moving forward.
Life seems harder than it is because we’ve lost the ability to be patient.
Any time I find myself with that uncomfortable desire to be further along than I am, it’s driven from a lack of patience. It’s driven from a place of focusing on outcomes instead of actions. The problem is that I can’t control outcomes. But I can control actions. My effort, persistence, and attitude is entirely in my control. The results of that are not.
The funny thing about success is no one knows what they’re doing. Seriously.
Ask most entrepreneurs, executives, artists, writers, actors, or athletes that have accrued any amount of success and they will tell you the same. The journey to get wherever they have gotten to is littered with Oh sh*t moments of incompetence, fear, and self-doubt.
We weren’t born knowing anything. And that’s the case for most of our lives. Some people have their luck encounter their effort and talent, and that leads to success. But they’re still learning. They still don’t know what they’re doing. Because with every rung of the ladder we climb we are entering uncharted territory. We are exploring places we’ve never been. So success, by definition, is the consistent pursuit of not knowing what we’re doing.
Any success I’ve had is incredibly marginal relative to where I want to be. I want my books to be read by more people. I want my income to be higher. I want my family to be stronger and happier. I want my travels to be further. And the way to get there? By consistently putting myself in the position of having to learn, adapt, and grow.
I have no idea what I’m doing. But neither does anyone else.