Growing, The Hard Way

I’m just inside what I feel like is the final lap for my 365-day YouTube challenge, which I started (and rebooted) back in November of last year.

In 2 months I’ll be there and I know, at this point in time, that I’m going to make it. But, man… it’s been one helluva grind.

Last night, I crossed 1,300 subscribers (and 13 is my favorite number so I had to grab a screenshot of it). This number isn’t that significant in and of itself, but, it is fascinating to note that it took me just over 6 months to do it from 1,000.

The first 1,000 took 8 years, by the way. So, I am, essentially, accelerating my growth pretty strongly. But, it doesn’t feel that way.


And that’s kind of the point: Growth almost never feels fast. Whether this is personal growth or professional growth we are constantly reminded about how limited we are as humans and how we’re never quite satisfied with any growth metric (if we can count it at all).

Context and history can be helpful, sometimes, but it doesn’t make me feel any better knowing that it took 8 years to get to 1,000 and now I’m moving 5 times faster now with 300 subs in 6 months.

But, again, I don’t feel like it’s faster because i’m just averaging slightly better than 1 new subscriber a day. Bleh. And that’s why growth is so darn frustrating, even when it’s really, really working (like this small monster of a project).

Because even when the metrics look good our own imaginations slay us with its… well, imagination. You see, in our own minds we can always imagine going faster, becoming more successful sooner, and progressing through the ranks and the benchmarks and over the hurdles with greater speed.

It is never quite enough, is it.

The only panacea to this madness that I know of is making sure that you have great folks around you to talk to. That might not sound obvious or useful but it is, in fact, the only real solution to this unsolvable mental dilemma.

You see, good friends, partners, even mentors and/or coaches who you can honestly talk to about these frustrations help you reset your expectations and align your mental models and the priorities that they have fabricated.

These conversation partners give you the perspective that you need when it comes to things like growth, both personally and professionally. They provide the stories, the important narratives, that can help you move from a place of frustration into a place of peace.

And although these dialogues do not necessarily solve anything they do, in fact, remind me of how little I can control and how that’s entirely okay. It helps bring me to a place where I can say, without pride or delusion, that I’m where I need to be.

Back to the YouTube project… it was never about the stats to begin with (but I struggle with them as much as the next person). Rather, it was an experiment in creative execution, a desire to do something for a set amount of time and persevere.

You know… what it was really about was giving myself an opportunity to grow in the hard ways, not the easy. I like that.