We do get a lot of emails through our works in the non-profit African Institution of Technology. Also, I get questions regularly via LinkedIn from founders and entrepreneurs. But recently, I have noticed a pattern from our young African entrepreneurs especially the female founders: they tend to think that their works are inferior. That is a big problem which has to be addressed.
Why it is desirable to benchmark, in my experience, the best way to achieve any greater state is to have self-confidence. There is a huge difference between pursuing perfection and thinking that you cannot even compete. Sending us a link and immediately pointing out a Silicon Valley company that does what you are trying to do better will not really help your personal drive. While you can learn from the Silicon Valley company, your motivation must come with understanding that you can adapt the idea to meet the needs of a local market.
I call this problem Comparative Inferiority where people are always comparing themselves with others and always putting themselves at a lower barometer. You think you went to the wrong school, you worked in the wrong company, and came from the wrong country. Get a break! The biggest asset in your company is not your history: it is you. And the future is unbounded and unconstrained. The implication is that despite any past, you can achieve what you have dreamt for your company. But that can only happen if you believe. Beginning with the mindset of being inferior will put you in a position to lose even before the game starts. Confidence is not an absence of weakness. It is simply a testament that you have made progress despite the obvious fact that you have more works ahead.
In this video, I address that Comparative Inferiority. My thesis is that people have to be confident in any state they are, even as they pursue a higher state. You have already achieved something by starting something. Your work is not inferior but it can be improved upon. You need to find a way to communicate confidence and put brilliance in your work even when you are not satisfied of its current state, knowing that you need to continue to improve.
If you know the edge people you are comparing yourself have, you will certainly appreciate how far you have come. They need to inspire you, motive you but you must not be intimidated by them. I want legends to inspire you. But you must not be intimated by them.
Comment on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn user posted this on this post feed. It offers deep insights
Guys…let’s not pretend you don’t know what this post is going to be about. Anyone who has worked in, or run,a small business has felt the urgly sting of inferiority complex to their largest rivals at some point. Sure, having your own business is liberating and rewarding and a life changing. But sometimes it would be nice to get corporate card back and walk into a new business opportunity knowing without a doubt that everyone in the room had already heard of your company.
Of course, that’s an overly Rosy picture of what it is to work for a large company – but you get the picture. The thing is, when it comes to this infiriority complex that many small business owners and employee might feel, it typically only comes down to three things: Perceived lack of size, Perceived lack of experience, and perceived lack of resources. The irony of each of these is that what is holding you back from confidence in your own business in each area is probably the same thing that is making that issue a barrier for your business in the first place.
The good news about that is if you can Address this question for your potential customers, you can likely solve it for yourself and your staff as well. Let’s tackle each of them one by one….?