It’s okay to be where you are.
May 28, 2015
The most terrifying and disruptive moments I experienced after launching Connected Potential were when I would encounter groups or organizations that I believed were already doing what we wanted to do, but were doing it better. I would look at their sleek websites, see photos of their beaming staff and read their (somewhat generic) but hard-hitting language about how they were pushing the boundaries of social innovation and changing the world as we know it.
In these moments, my stomach would knot up, and my heart would sink. "Oh no", I would think. "After all this work, someone is already out there doing this stuff WAY better than we can." A wave of self-doubt would wash over me, and send me into a motivational tail-spin. All items on my to-do list would be immediately put on hold, I would postpone e-mailing colleagues, and I would put myself on an emergency hiatus to calm my nerves, and think.
Often, it would take several days to become grounded again and actually examine those sleek websites and their vague but inspirational buzzwords. Each and every time, I would discover that they weren't actually doing the same thing we were doing, and even if they were, Connected Potential still had something beautiful and unique to offer the world. But each time this happened, I still suffered damage. My work was put on hold. Self-doubt would take over and I would become paralyzed until I could convince myself that we were still on the right track.
It was no way to succeed in a long term vision. I knew something had to change. It wasn't until I began to distance myself from the noise of social media and the energizing, but often erratic pace of the start up community that I began to feel more grounded in my own work, and more capable of applying an authentic voice to the change Connected Potential is prepared to create in the world. I needed to turn off the voices that surrounded me - not the voices of my trusted colleagues and friends, but rather the constant stream of successes being shown on the internet. It was making me self conscious, and disrupting my ability to progress.
Creating change is challenging. Living life on terms you are comfortable with is challenging. Often you will encounter people you feel are doing things better than you, and may feel self-conscious, or like you don't belong.
I am telling you that it is okay to be where you are. Positive change can happen on a grand or small scale, whether it's in a moment of kindness between strangers or in the decision to finally do something differently. Accomplishing true and lasting change is a longterm journey, and there are many people in the world that will never embark on the road you are on. So feel proud of yourself for taking this step, for embracing the unknown in order to accomplish something bigger than yourself. You will become a stronger, more capable person for it.
Yes, there will always be people out there who will have been doing their work longer than you, or will have greater resources to contribute, or will otherwise appear to excel where you get stuck. That's okay, because creating change is both a journey and a commitment, and if you wake up every day wanting to solve a particular problem, and work hard towards finding the best solution, you will get there too.
...Or you won't, and that's okay too. Because it's okay to be where you are, and the most powerful voice you can listen to (in all things) is your own.