On today’s test drive, I’m going to talk about something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, which is how to identify and reframe pain points in our business and/or life through the lens of an opportunity for growth.
This is a little more high level and less specific than some of the test drives, but it really has been incredibly helpful for me as of late.
And this topic came from a book I’m currently reading called Principles by Ray Dalio.
My story: So what do I mean by pain points?
A couple areas where I’ve felt a lot of pain points in particular has been around getting traction with Campground Booking, as well as videos on Youtube. These are both areas that have taken up a lot of my thought process and caused me grief. I’ve looked at them as areas where I’m failing and not doing well in — very similar as to what I had before launching the podcast (sat around for 18 months before starting it).
Instead of looking at them like in a negative light, Ray argued that I should be happy for these pain points because they are opportunities for accelerated growth. Similar to how you know you’re building muscle while working out when you experience a little pain, it’s the same way in business (while less subtle).
Also, he said that while, in your face, these pain points seem like big problems, in actuality they grow much smaller once you pass them by and you realize most of these issues are quite manageable.
At one point, creating income outside a 9-5 job felt like a crazy big problem. At one point trying to build a successful niche blog + following felt like a crazy big problem and the same with starting a podcast. At one point, all of these things felt intimidating and like they were out of my reach. Now, they don’t feel that way at all as I’ve gone past those points (in some cases).
So today, I just want to share the process I went through that helped me reframe my current pain points in our business and see them as opportunities for growth VS inadequacies. Ray might call this something like trend analysis, where you look at previous market behaviors to come up with forecasting models and plan for the future. In something no where as complex as the stock market, here’s a few things I did to help reframe my current pain points to see them as opportunities for growth.
1. I wrote down how I felt in each really big painful moment
I did this for each of the pain points that I mentioned before (9-5 job, blog, podcast), where I had a really big uphill climb ahead of me. To do this, I looked through my own journals.
Doing work outside a 9-5
- It felt awful to be in a job where I knew I didn’t want to be
- I felt like my potential wasn’t being met
- I longed for more
- I constantly daydreamed about what it would be like when I could leave my job
- I wanted to start a successful blog
- I felt zero progress on this
- Why was I even doing it if nobody was reading what I’m writing?
- Constantly felt like I was starting over
- I’m wasn’t as good as I wanted to be
- I’d never be at “their level”
- I really wanted to start a podcast
- Interviewing people was fun and thought I could be good at it
- I just felt the draw to launch one
I talked about starting a podcast for over a YEAR before I actually launched and I mentioned it a lot to in my journal. Who knows how much more I thought about it before diving in.
Looking at these made me realize how closely I felt in those moments, compared to how I feel now with building a software company or pushing videos on Youtube.
2. I wrote down how I made it through each of these pain points
What helped me get traction in these areas? How did I solve those problems?
Work outside a 9-5
- Tried a bunch of different business ideas
- Surrounded myself w/ entrepreneurs
- Constantly was learning via books and podcasts, hungry for knowledge
- Created and executed on a plan (Hourly America)
- Gave myself runway to succeed (1+ year)
- Differentiated myself going to do Hourly America
- Built profitable skills
- Went through super uncomfortable phase where we weren’t making much money
- Trial and error
- Showed up for a long time with nobody reading or caring
- Went through super uncomfortable phases where my writing wasn’t where I wanted it to be
- Absorbed a ton of knowledge on how to be a better blogger
- Surrounded myself with people who were doing well at the thing I wanted to grow (i.e. blogging)
- Treated each post more like an opportunity to get better VS it being the end-all be-all (essentially, this helped me continuously show up and not feel like each post had to be amazing, but just another chance to grow and get better)
- Test what I was doing and constantly re-evaluate & improve (trial and error)
- Building it out of a validated need I’d found
- Constantly getting feedback in early stages and before launching
- Interviewing 50 or 75 people during Hourly America. I was terrible and interviews were awkward, but listening to myself allowed me to improve
- Getting feedback from people
- Looking at instructions for getting started
- Consistently showing up
3. I recognized themes and patterns that overlap among all three
- Consistently showing up
- Going through awkward phase when you’re not as good as you want to be
- Surrounding yourself with people who are doing it right
- Constantly seeking out feedback + trial and error to improve and be better
- Listening to my gut, like with podcasting, and knowing that the more I talk + think about something, the more I need to lean in and do it
What I learned about myself:
- I tend to look at myself as inadequate or give myself a hard time VS seeing this as an immediate opportunity for growth
- Once I reframe the problem as an opportunity for growth, I immediately feel more encouraged
- Knowing that I’ve made it through similar problems makes my current ones feel smaller
- Just realizing that this is a solvable problem is encouraging
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