What To Do When It Feels Like You’ll Never Succeed

I’ll be the first one to tell you that working for yourself is amazing. I’ve done it for my entire career and I’d never change it. And while I am absolutely ecstatic to see so many people taking advantage of the amazing opportunities that are now available for working for yourself, I think its very easy to get caught up in this cult of entrepreneurship, and “overnight” successes, to the point where you lose perspective.

When you’re surrounded by Instagram feeds of amazing “workation” pictures, news of viral tweets leading to instant success, and crazy fast startups that seem to come out of nowhere and make instant celebrities out of their owners, it can be very, very easy to feel like you’ll never succeed, especially when you’re just starting out or you’re in one of the natural plateaus that come in a business cycle. When you’re feeling like that, it’s absolutely essential that you:

Take a step back and get some perspective.

Remember, people automatically and intensively curate themselves on social media. Everybody has off days, screw ups, and cringey moments, but no one is going to post “It’s been three months and I still don’t have any clients. WTF?” on Twitter or “Well, yet another unhappy client. Better luck next time!” on Facebook. As they say in counseling programs, don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.

Remember that almost every “overnight” success was years in the making.

Everyone looks at Twitter now and sees a successful platform, but what people don’t realize is that it was originally designed to be a text message based platform, and it had poor growth until they pivoted and made it into the version it is today. Or how Help a Reporter Out, a classic “overnight” success that went from nothing to over a million in revenue in a few months, was actually 10 years in the making.

Check in to make sure you’re on track.

It’s also crucial that you don’t fall into navel gazing. So when you do start feeling bad about other people’s success and it seems like you’ll never make it, use that feeling as a reminder to check in with your own goals. This doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic thing. Just pause for five minutes, ask yourself whether you’re doing the most important work that you could be doing right now, and then either find that you are and forget about everybody else, or find that you’re not, correct course, and still forget about everybody else!

So the next time your social media blows up with news of the latest overnight success, don’t let it throw you. You’re doing just fine.

Now you tell me, what do you do when you’re feeling like you’re stuck and convince yourself everyone else is effortlessly flowing past you? The more strategies we share, the better for everyone.