When you are ambitious, it’s really hard to settle on one thing to impact. We want to impact everything, but as a result end up impacting nothing.
We want to change the world, rather than the lives of a few people in our own backyard. We think that small step is below us. It’s insignificant.
Which is wrong. Positively impacting others’ lives, whether one or a thousand, is equally admirable.
It’s just harder to accept.
Our desire to change the world also comes, to some extent, from our ego.
We think we can dabble in a bit of everything & do it all well. Focusing on having a specific impact on a specific, small group of people is hard to accept.
Our ego doesn’t like facing up to itself in the mirror & having to ruthlessly select, in as rational way as possible, the one or two things we can do really well. It hates admitting that we are mediocre or below average at many things.
Yet we over-estimate our level of competence in almost everything. Therefore humility is the way of the truth. The data doesn’t lie.
This over-estimation is also true even when we think we may be doing something altruistic.
We just can’t help ourselves.
Don’t stop yourself aiming big. The bigger the impact you have the better, if that’s what your aim in life is.
Just aim big, start small.
What’s the one thing you can offer to a friend? Someone in your family? Your time? Your knowledge? What can you help them out with that no-one else can? What problems are they stuck on?
Is it starting a business? Is it help learning Spanish? Is it simply helping them out with the gardening?
That’s your unique value proposition right there. Your unique offering. For one person. And one is enough.
You’ve ticked the box showing that you offer something of value & somebody wants it. It’s simple supply & demand.
Now the question is whether you can scale it.
Can you find that second customer? What if they’ve never heard of you? What if they already use another product? How are you better? How are you different?
Can you charge them for it? Enough to pay your own bills at scale? Is it worth the time put in? Do you enjoy it enough? Can you deal with the uncertainty?
Starting a business & having an impact on the world isn’t rocket science. It just requires you to start small & ask simple questions at each step.
The tricky part is keeping your ego in check & maintaining discipline — and just realising that you need patience.
That you take small steps for years in order to get to the big steps down the road.
And unfortunately there are no shortcuts, despite what you might see on Dragons Den.