There is always a moment on the path to success when everything finally “clicks.” From the outside, it may look like things happened overnight. But anyone who has walked that path knows that success is about far more than any single event. It’s a long journey of overcoming obstacles, pivoting, adjusting, tweaking, questioning and learning, until the moment of change occurs.
Regardless of what you are working toward, you are aiming at some sort of end goal; something that will define whether or not you have succeeded. But that end goal is only there to help give you a compass. The real work comes in addressing whatever challenges are in front of you right now, and ultimately how you are going to overcome them.
What are some of the challenges you might face? Let’s look at 5 of them.
1. People not believing in you.
The first, and arguably the toughest, is dealing with the fact that not everyone is going to be supportive. In fact, some might look down upon what you’re doing, or try to convince you that you’re wrong, are wasting your time and aren’t headed in a good direction.
The reason this ends up being such a challenge is because the naysayers are usually people you care about. How hard would it be for you to study something in school your parents didn’t want you to study? Or leave a job where all your friends work? Or dive into an industry that is opposed to whatever new thing you’re bringing to the table? Think about Uber, and all the challenges they have had to face in confronting the taxi-service industry.
Lack of belief is an emotional component that takes a lot of time to understand and overcome. But ask anyone who has built something truly magnificent, and they’ll tell you that, in the beginning, not everyone was a fan.
2. Funding your venture.
No matter where you’re starting from, funding will always play a role in building your idea and bringing it to life.
If you are working a 9-to-5 job and want to devote yourself to your startup, you need funding—either outside investment or plenty of cash in the bank. If you want to build something you can’t build yourself, you either need outside investment to hire people, or you need to pay people out of pocket or find equity partners. At the end of the day, someone is going to pay for it, and as the leader it’s up to you to figure out who.
There are plenty of “I went broke five times trying to launch my company” stories out there. Cash flow is always an issue, even after you have your business up and running. It’s just a whole lot more apparent when you’re first starting out.
3. Finding the right team.
Having a great idea is a key piece of the puzzle. Securing the funding to build it is another. But once those are in place, it’s crucial to gather the right people to help bring that idea to life.
Great things don’t just “get made.” They are co-created, with each person bringing something unique to the table. And the hardest part about finding the right people can be gathering a group that shares the same vision. Talent is just one part of the equation. You need talented people who can get along, set their egos aside and work together toward the same goal.
More often than not, it’s the team that defines how great the idea ultimately is. A great idea or business concept is nothing if there’s no follow-through. It’s the execution that matters. This is why some great ideas fail, and some average ideas become great ones. It all comes down to who is involved, and finding the right group of people takes time.
4. Having the patience to see it through.
Nothing great happens overnight.
All the most successful entrepreneurs messed around with a number of different ideas before they found “the one.” As kids, they sold baseball cards or frequented garage sales for deals they could resell. They started small side ventures in school to make a little extra money. And through all of that they learned the necessary skills that could ultimately be applied to their big idea.
Entrepreneurship, and doing anything to the point of reaching success, takes a long time. The road isn’t a straight line from A to B, and is usually filled with lots of smaller lessons along the way. But if you can be patient and connect the dots, the big “ah-ha” moment will ultimately present itself.
5. Finding fulfillment.
How many times have you heard about the person at the top who has made all their money and at the same time felt entirely unfulfilled?
One of the big challenges when chasing success comes down to doing so in a way that also feeds your soul. You have to love what you do. You have to find opportunities to balance it with other things you need in order to be a healthy human being. You have to feel good about the work you’re doing, and it has to speak to you on multiple levels.
In the end, success is a game of balance. You want to achieve your clearly defined goals, yes, but you need to do so in a way that allows you to keep the rest of your life. Otherwise, you will reach the end and feel as though you have accomplished nothing at all.