One of the hardest aspects of being a solopreneur is dealing with the emotional impact of all those startups who, unlike you, seem to live on Easy Street.
You hear about an app like Yo that sends just those characters to someone else raising $1.5 million on a valuation of $10 million and you ask yourself, “Am I stupid?”, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Why is it so easy for them and so damn hard for me?” We seem to be in an age where any random collection of lines of code can make money or get funded – except you.
Objectively, we know there must be a reason for this, and those others must be working just as hard as you are, sacrificing just as much as you are, but that’s not what our guts say. They say despair. They say give up. They say everyone else has the magic, not you, because you know you’re too old, too young, too inexperienced, too experienced, live in the wrong place or whatever your secret fear(s) are about your abilities as a developer and someone trying to create software others want and will pay for.
And then along comes a small bit of hope to your inbox like today. A post by James Clear about the hidden dangers of comparing yourself to others. The story James tells is too good to risk mangling – read James post. The point he’s making is twofold: you’re job is to create, not tell yourself no. Your job is to get out of the way of what you can create. No one else can be you and what you can create is uniquely from you.
It reminds me of something Howard Roark said in Ayn Rand’s other masterpiece, The Fountainhead, that has stuck with me over the years: “I don’t intend to build in order to have clients; I intend to have clients in order to build.”
And if you’ve ever heard of Steven Pressfield and the War of Art and what being a pro is really about, then you’ll get Jame’s second point loud and clear: being “a creative” whether it’s making dance or making code means you are and you must be a professional. Professionals learn to quell that insidious inner voice saying you can’t possibly succeed, so why bother, and show up and do that work no matter what.
The next time you are dog tired trying to push your particular giant boulder up what seems to be a endlessly hard hill, take a bit of solace and a helping of strength from all those around you who’ve push back their inner demons of doubt long enough to get their work out. You are not alone.