I had a hell of a breakthrough in my thinking the other night.
Success is seldom a straight line. My employer is no exception. As a startup, we need to remain agile at all times, doing everything we can to serve our customers while adapting to suit the evolving needs of the market.
But I struggle with letting others down.
When we bring on customers excited about the next big feature rollout—and circumstances push that feature back to the future—I spend more time than I’d like buying time, developing workarounds, and trying to save what were once healthy relationships.
Customer success is all about keeping the company’s promises, after all.
And it bugs me. It’s been a major source of stress for months. Not constant, by any measure, but frequent enough that it’s been wearing on me. After all, disappointed customers—those who actually care, anyway—tend to speak up.
Meanwhile, remember what they say about the quiet ones who don’t.
My breakthrough came in realizing I’ve spent much of the last decade doing likewise. Trying to find the balance between doing what I want to do and finding others who want to do likewise, and doing what people might actually consider worth paying me/us to do.
Taking it a step further, what if everything that pisses me off in the world pisses me off because it’s actually a reflection of my own shortcomings?
If I get bent seeing another 20-something prick in a $100,000 car, is it because some stranger I know absolutely nothing about was born into luxury, went to some A-list school (paid in cash, of course), and graduated into an executive-level job with zero sense of reality?
Or is it because it’s a reminder that, if I’m so funking smart, why haven’t I got my shit together yet and done likewise?
There aren’t many absolutes. And I don’t think this is one of them, but I keep coming back to thoughts > words > actions > habits > character > destiny—and I really want to figure myself out.
If I’m misfiring on one or more cylinders, I need to figure out why.
Such is the gearhead project.