You might remember me from high school. I was that tall skinny kid, the one with the shiny braces and the dirt on his upper lip (aka a mustache). Yep that was me.
And I was super cool. You know why? Because I wore a Members Only jacket.
In case you don’t recall, a Member’s Only jacket was a ridiculously expensive windbreaker and a required item of clothing. If you wore one, you were in the same club as the popular kids. I convinced my hard working parents that I needed one because my old jacket “didn’t fit right.”
With the benefit of hindsight and some introspection, all I can say is WTF. I looked ridiculous. Wearing a Members Only jacket didn’t make me cool, popular, or help me get a girlfriend which was the real objective.
In college, I stopped worrying about being cool and I connected with people I liked. These friends may have resembled the characters on Rudolf’s Island of Misfit Toys, but I was with the right people, and I was happy.
Do you remember this scene from The Social Network
That’s right, the new cool kids are successful entrepreneurs, and they are at the center of the circle. Around the edge are a lot of hopefuls trying to get noticed. They go to events (for other entrepreneurs), they have the title (founder), and they talk about their latest project (idea).
They are proudly wearing an Entrepreneurs Only jacket and a member of the club.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, don’t sweat it. I was that person, feeling like an imposter, trying to fit in.
But here’s the thing. You are looking for affirmation from a group of people that have a negligible impact on the outcome of your business. You are trying too hard to be a member of the wrong club, and you are wasting precious time.
As an entrepreneur, the right club is with your customers, the ones who pay you money. Go to their events and take a genuine interest in their issues, not just the ones your product or service “is a solution for.” Add value and solve their problems, and you will be accepted, elevated, and you will find affirmation.
Now take off that stupid jacket and get to work.