A lot of us think we know what we’re good at, where our strengths lie. Consequently, we believe we understand what our weaknesses are. But we’re usually wrong and unknowingly are limiting ourselves to learn and grow.
It’s easy to create this false idea of ourselves and stick to it. Not only that, but we kind of brag about it. Some like to believe that since they work on the technical side of things, they don’t need to develop their soft skills. Others think that they’re big-picture people, so they can’t be bothered with the trivial details. For far too long, I’ve accepted the notion that since I’m a creative, I don’t do numbers. I adopted that stereotype with pride. It was a safe and cozy spot to be.
Well, last week, that arrogance bit me in the ass.
I recently went full time on our venture, Blush. And I’ve spent a massive part of my time meeting investors, describing them our vision, and trying to convince them to join us in this experiment. After a couple of months of doing this, I can say that I’m getting pretty good at it. I’ve learned a ton about how the VC world works, and I think I have a better understanding of how to communicate with them—how to speak their language. But there’s one thing I’ve been avoiding—talking about numbers.
I’ve justified my lack of numbers with the fact that our company is too young, and that whatever data we get would be deceptive. While a bit true, in reality, I’ve used this as an excuse to avoid looking into it. Why? Because “I’m not a numbers guy.” Because all of my life I’ve told myself that that’s not my thing. I’m an artist, don’t you get it!
So looking at projections graphs, market size, and growth percentages on a sheet sounded as painful as jamming rusty nails through my eyeballs. Well, because I avoided this task—and I took pride in my ignorance—an investor said no to us.
Holy crap. That sucked. The investors were pretty excited about Blush—they saw the potential! But just my vagueness on the tactical side was such a turn off for them that they had to walk out of it.
Well, I’m learning my lesson. Now I’m jumping into spreadsheets, looking at projections, fiddling with the estimates, and damn, I have to say—it’s rather fun! There’s a creative side to numbers that I had been neglecting myself to learn. Looking at the little details is actually informing me of how our vision can become a reality.
Yo, I’m gonna become a Numbers Amadeus!
Anyway, just something I wanted to share. How sometimes we think we know our strengths and weaknesses, but we base them on a false idea we create for ourselves. And accepting that idea can limit the things we learn and how we grow.