Because I started a company in college – before ever having a “corporate” job – I didn’t know the rules. I had to overcome any obstacle thrown my way and didn’t know you could say, “Well, that’s out of my control so I can’t do anything about that.” Or, “If my boss would tell people to listen to me, then I could be more effective.” Everything was in my control and if I didn’t figure out a way to make it happen, it wouldn’t happen.
There are many, many things I wish I had known about the industry and business in general before I started my agency back in 1998. For instance, I remembered in 2002 when we “invented” wireframes. We literally had never heard of wireframes and realized how much better it would be to develop websites by first drawing out what the site would look like on paper. We were very proud of ourselves for such an incredible differentiator, until a few weeks later when we hired someone that had been doing wireframes for years and informed us that EVERY digital shop had been doing wireframes for years. So there’s something to be said for working at a business before starting your own.
But the idea that I control my own destiny is something I will be forever grateful to have learned by being an entrepreneur first. I think businesses train people to think that they can’t really control their success within that business. That they must rely on others to do things for them and if those people don’t, well then its not their fault they weren’t successful.
Same applies to life. There’s almost nothing that is outside of your control. And at the very least, you can control how you react to things, what you learned and how you’re going to attack it next time. But boo-hoo’ing about all the challenges in front of you does nobody any good.
And here’s the kicker, people hate hearing that. Hate it. In fact, its the thing I say the most that pisses people off. But I’m going to keep saying it because the more people realize they can actually accomplish their goals without needing to rely on other people, the more satisfied they will be and the more things will be accomplished.
Challenge: Give me some examples of things at work that you think you can’t control, and I bet I can find a way that you could control it. I’d love to be proven wrong on this.