I have a secret to tell you, I don’t know what I am doing. I have an even bigger secret to tell you, NO ONE knows what they are doing. People may think they know, they may even talk like they know, but the truth is no one knows. When we set off on our ventures, we have no idea what we’re doing, but as we keep moving forward, things have a tendency of figuring themselves out. When I started designing business cards for local companies, I had no idea that would lead to websites, and eventually apps. I started out my career doing freelance in Florida, moved to working for big agencies, and now I find myself at a startup in New York City. That was never the goal, and if it was, maybe things wouldn’t have panned out that way. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we want to do, that we don’t focus on what we’re currently doing.
Focus on the now
I have a friend whose always wanted to do ‘something.’ That’s how he describes it. “Christian, man, I just want to do something.” My friend has taken lessons to learn coding, he went to real estate classes, he has even done accounting. He could be good at any ‘one’ of these things, but he’s not. It’s not because he isn’t smart, he is. He’s extremely intelligent and driven, but he has one problem. He thinks too far ahead. When he wanted to code, he was thinking about this huge app he wanted to make. When he was taking the real estate classes, he was thinking about million dollar homes. When he did accounting, he was thinking about starting international businesses. There is nothing wrong with thinking far ahead, however, when we let that way of thinking affect our current work, then we have a problem. If we don’t focus on what we have in front of us, how can we expect to take on bigger things in the future?
It’s okay to start small
When starting out, it’s okay to code other people’s apps, it’s okay to sell $100k houses, it’s okay to only do taxes. This is a starting point, we all have one. If we accept our starting point and focus on the work that comes with it, we will move forward. By focusing on our small starting points, we are setting ourselves up for our bigger opportunities in the future. When we get to the point where we can make our own app, sell a $1m home, and create global businesses; we would have learned all the intricate pieces that it takes to execute on these things. Had we jumped straight into our big dreams, we would have probably failed miserably. We wouldn’t be prepared to take on these types of things. That is why we must focus on our current work and start small.
The path is unforeseeable
Looking at someone else’s path will do nothing, because we all have our own unique one. Maybe someone else starts off designing business cards and jumps into apps, while someone else starts off with programming websites to end up in the same place. Our path is what makes us unique, it gives us different perspectives. There is different value that can be obtained from a business card designer than from a programmer. Neither one is more valuable, just different. Follow your own path, as you keep moving forward, it will unravel and show you the direction to take. Don’t worry too much about what’s up ahead, or what someone else’s path looked like. We all have our own. There will be things from our path that other people will learn from, just as we learn from things in other paths.
The clearer things are
Ultimately, we just have to keep moving forward on path. The more we move forward, the clearer our paths become. By focusing on the now, we allow ourselves to take pride in our work and do the absolute best job we can do. When we start small, we master every intricate piece it takes to achieve bigger things. In focusing on what’s in front of us and starting small we begin to unravel our own unique paths. Where are you currently at? Where do you want to be? Are you allowing your ambitions to get in the way of focusing on your current work?