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Startup Journal: How Did We Get Here?

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When you're constantly trying to work harder and smarter, you're going to look up one day and think, "How did we get here?" In the startup world, you don't have this experience because you were too busy to pay attention and enjoy life. You get here when you're so engulfed in the desire to grow and build something that you overlook how much progress you're making.

It's a thrilling realization, and one that could really happen in any field. In education, you'll look up one day and realize how much you've learned. In small business, you'll realize how many more employees you need to keep the business going compared to a year ago or two ago. As a blogger, you'll realize how much better you've gotten at providing quality content.

But each of these realizations come as epiphanies. Even if you're tracking every metric along the way, you probably don't realize your growth and development until one sudden "How did we get here?" moment. And that moment is beautiful!

For me, the moment came about two weeks ago, and it's taken me that long to completely process it. James and I have just recently started hosting a weekly radio show (live podcast, really), where we talk about things related to business, digital, and all things mobile. It's really fun, and has so far been well received by our audience. Two weeks ago, my sister pointed out that it was "really cool" that we were doing a show. This was news to me. I didn't get it.

Chattanooga Business RadioX

I thought doing the show was just another thing we were doing to help us grow as thought leaders. I didn't see it as a big step. We'd been focusing on working a little bit harder, a little bit smarter everyday, and this seemed like a logical next step. I hadn't focused on how far we'd come to get this opportunity. That was my "How did we get here?" moment. Now every Thursday at 5pm EST, we're saying, "Welcome to the Queue with James and Kenneth on Chattanooga Business Radio X."

Something similar happens for everyone. I'm sure every member of our team has their own "How did we get here?" moment. I'm sure you have several for yourself! These are beautiful moments, and for two reasons. One, they only come after you've been working both harder and smarter, growing and developing for months or even years. It's an amazing feeling to look up one day and think back on where you've come from. It's like your own mini success story.

Two, it usually takes someone else pointing out how far you've come, which makes the moment that much sweeter. You're focusing on the day-to-day, which means you can't experience as big a difference as others could see in you. And when others see that difference, it's an incredible affirmation.

Truthfully, these "How did we get here?" moments make the daily grind worth it. Everyone wants to grow and develop, be fulfilled and self-actualized, and these moments are effectively a reward for doing so. The tricky part is that you can't be looking for them, or they'll never come. Whatever you're doing, you've got to keep your nose to the grind, working harder and smarter everyday. You have to keep trying to get better and better. Then one day you'll look around at your team with a grin and ask, "How did we get here?"