Photo by topikito, CC BY 4.0.

Photo by topikito, CC BY 4.0.

“In order to achieve big goals we need to be willing to think big,” says Andreas von der Heydt, head of Kindle content for Amazon in a recent LinkedIn blog posting. “In reality, however,” he continues, “we often constrain ourselves, we have doubts in our skills and capabilities, and we might lack self-belief and confidence. As a result we do not see the big picture.”

If you’re a startup, one of the biggest walls you hit on a daily basis is finding ways for your idea to fit into the worldview of your customers. Those customers are far more than just the people you want to purchase your product or service. The people on your team are your customers. Your suppliers are customers. Existing and potential investors are your customers. Each of these groups is looking to you to constantly assure them that their decision to follow you is and remains the right one to make.

Elon Musk is a good example of an individual who has this process honed to razor sharpness. A Wall Street Journal feature on Musk provides interesting perspective on the man and the company he’s building, as observed by Colin Langan, an auto-industry analyst at UBS AG.

“But because of the unwavering intensity of Mr. Musk’s determination, investors have flocked to Tesla and shrug off the fact that the auto maker has never made an annual profit. They don’t care that the Model S usually sells for more than $100,000, or about double the company’s original projection. In the first nine months of 2014, Tesla had revenue of $2.24 billion, up 60% from a year earlier. Its net loss grew to $186.4 million from $57.7 million. There are a lot of investors whose main thesis is based on Elon Musk and his vision for the future of vehicles.”

At Changelane, we never tire of hearing stories about companies that push forward when the indications of metrics called into question the direction they chose – and which ultimately would have been their epitaph had they decided to pay heed. We never tire of them because they give us inspiration and validation.

Or, as Andreas von der Heydt says in his LinkedIn post, “Think, feel, behave, and act positively. That will trigger a positive spiral of self-confidence and create a can-do-attitude.”

The reality of the moment is seldom conducive to building possibility. We’re pretty sure that’s what was on von der Heydt’s mind when he advised, “Be prepared to be misunderstood (for a long time). Don’t question yourself too often. Instead try to explain your vision and don’t stray from your path, if you’re fully convinced. Stay focused.”

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