The Dangers of Thinking You’ve “Made It”

I’m a progress junkie. I’m addicted to goals. If I can chart a stream of data and analyze my progress or cross a to-do item off of a list, I get high off of it. So when I look back to last year, and cross things off like:

-Full time SewnR
-Hire complete team
-Office lease

Wow! Those are some lofty, life-changing goals crossed off. But when I look back to a month ago, the whole team was just showing up to work. We weren’t exactly just going through the motions. We still do spectacular work. We laugh all day. We produce some of the best apps I’ve worked on in my career, but the way we showed up was not as if every day was a dream come true. That’s unrealistic to expect but what I realized is, we “made it.”

Starting out, we worked full-time jobs. We plotted a pie-in-the-sky plan for our nonexistent company. Then, we met up at bars and coffee shops on nights and weekends. The team coded until they fell asleep at their keyboards. We had a table in the back of Nadine’s Bar that was unofficially reserved on Wednesday nights for shots and TestFlight builds. My MacBook Pro and its custom wooden keyboard never left my side in case an idea or a solution came to mind. One day far, far down the road we were able to harvest the fruits of our labor.

We quit our *real jobs*. We didn’t have to work so hard anymore. We fell into new patterns and figured out how to make the company a success. My biggest fear now is complacency. It’s working all those hours and sacrificing all that time to replace one job for another. Because we’ve “made it,” the grind is over. There’s nothing scarier to me.

As I write my new annual goals, I have new pie-in-the-sky ideas. I’m excited and getting hungrier than ever to execute. Speaking for myself, I’ll never make it. I think it’s dangerous to do so. You risk losing everything you’ve already accomplished by stopping. You’re trading one hunt for another instead of building off of your own progress. Enthusiasm and pace can wax and wane, but never ever stop for anything. Speaking for the team, we haven’t made it either. We made it to our goals for the year. I’m incredibly proud of us for doing so. We bootstrapped the entire effort. We trusted each other to pull through and every one of us did. After building a company from nothing at all, the team deserved a moment to catch their breath. Now it’s my job to celebrate our accomplishments, set new goals, and keep building off of our sweat equity.

I have a few extremely difficult goals to hit in 2017. Some of them I can’t share with you just yet. Many are technical and business related. The first one I wrote though…

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