If you do anything long enough, eventually you hit "the wall."
Everyone encounters this, big or small. Think about when you work out. For the first few weeks, you're shedding pounds, building muscle, improving your figure everyday. You look at yourself in the mirror and think, "I look good." And then slowly but surely, you hit a wall. The more you do, the less you improve. Your body is used to the same repetitive exercises. Those last 10 pounds won't come off. You get frustrated. Some people punch through the wall and try a new approach; others throw in the towel in and order a burger and fries.
Every startup or business encounters the wall. Entrepreneurs talk about the wall you hit scaling a business from $1 million in revenue to $10 million. Getting the first $1 million is "easy" in the sense that it's driven by a lot of "first deals" and excitement in the new team. Putting in necessary systems and processes, scaling a team, and delivering growth to deliver repeatable growth is a whole different ballgame and that is where entrepreneurs usually hit a wall.
So what do uber-successful people do when they hit a wall, whether it's professional or personal? Here are a few of their pieces of advice:
"Don't take it that personally," recommends Kevin Ryan, the Chairman and CEO of AlleyCorp. "For me, most of business is going to be a little bit like playing sports. You have a game, you have a good game, you have a bad game, you sit there and think, 'Okay, that wasn't so great.' But now I just have to think about the next game, what am I going to work on, practice?"
"We all hit walls," says Geoff Ramsey, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of eMarketer. Remembering the dot com years in the 1990s, Geoff describes how he would go for a walk around the block from his office when he found himself hitting a wall. "Sometimes it's just getting a fresh perspective and then it could even be a small step. Just take one small step forward and just by doing that, that energy of moving forward and then maybe communicating that idea to somebody else who can in turn take another step forward. You can get out of your rut."
"Walls are meant to constantly climb; they're not meant to just hide yourself under," says Chris Burch, the founder and CEO of Burch Creative Capital. "I constantly hear in corporations, 'It's not fair.' Or, 'That person, I'm smarter than that person.' I always believe, keep your head down, find ways to be more unique and more special, and try not to get defeated."
Scott Kurnit, founder of About.com, has a very simple trick to forgetting your woes. He recommends picking a date three weeks into the future and marking it with a dot. "When you get there in three weeks, you'll go, 'Not such a big deal.' You do that three times and, interestingly, it will change your behavior."
Spoken by someone who sounds like he's hit a few walls - and come out in one piece!