Meaning: It’s exponential, but we usually completely misunderstand the term. Have you ever paid attention to the flat part of an exponential curve? It’s a very long, very flat part. If it’s not there, it’s probably been cut off – and THAT is the issue here.
I recently went surfing on an artificial wave (pic above), and it actually looks pretty decent, which reminded me of my entrepreneur’s journey. Both of them looked really, really flat for a long time. We just don’t usually pay that much attention to the flat part. I believe this needs to change.
At some point I took off in both surfing and entrepreneurship – and it looks like a huge leap from outside. Which it totally isn’t. It’s more like: We don’t understand exponential growth. Sure, we can grasp it intellectually, but our instinct naturally gravitates back to linear.
So, we make up a “before” and an “after”. She can’t surf until she can, and she can’t create her business until she can. It’s the reason why the six figures in six month scams work so well: There must be an easy fix, and all you need to do is to find it. Because obviously others can do it. Boom. Without the flat part.
While there may be cases in which those do work, in general it’s the exponential journey. It looks flat while we are putting pieces together in the background. Whether it be about learning to read a wave or gathering the inner strength to take a stand for an unusual business idea.
We are blind to exponentiality even when it works.
It’s part circumstances: You may train in a difficult ocean for a long time – literally as well as figuratively if it comes to the entrepreneur’s journey. And then, some circumstances change and we make that leap. And it’s so funny: If we’re inside the exponential journey, we’re so quick to attribute it to luck. We overlook the magic of the exponential journey. We can’t see we were ready when it happened, because we invested in the flat part.
Or, what do you think? How well would I have surfed the “easy” wave if I’d never before seen a surfboard? How courageous would I have been after having been tumbled upside down by the whitewash? And, quite the same: How would I have created that client if I’d never been willing to invite someone before? How willing to get back up after a major setback if I’d never been tumbled upside down on a smaller scale? You get the idea.
You will never “get” exponentiality. It’s about your choice.
Exponentiality is never going to feel natural. Rather it’s a constant choice away from letting impatience get the best of you, and into the journey. How often can you see there isn’t missing a lot – and oh, how often is it about being willing to let go of exactly the temptation right in front of you?
Of course it’s not necessarily “wrong” to follow what tempts you. If you begin to commit to something bigger than what’s predictable for you and your life, it’s worth checking in though: Does it serve your journey, your vision, your bigger goals? And you may find – like I usually do – that rushing into what’s the obvious and automatic choice is going to cost you dear.
We humans are notoriously blind to our own automatics, and it takes one conscious, courageous choice at a time to create what we really, deeply desire – without getting attached to immediate results. You may be on the flat-flat-flat-flat-boom train after all.
What is your exponential journey about?