I love the A-Team. It used to be on Wednesday nights at 7:30 pm, back when you used to watch a TV show at the time it was scheduled.
We were on holidays and I was trying to explain the TV in the hotel room to Scarlett. She couldn't understand why I couldn't pause it or go back to the start.
Anyway – the plot for A-Team was the same every episode. The boys would get called in to rescue a damsel in distress. They would inevitably get caught by the bad guys and locked in a shed.
Now the ideal piece of machinery to have if you are locked in a shed with a bunch of bad guys outside with machine guns is a tank. But of course there was never a tank sitting in the shed. But there was an old tractor, some hydraulic gear, a welder, some sheets of metal and a pile of watermelons.
BA Baracus would then weld the metal to the front of the tractor, hook up the hydraulic gear, and load up the watermelons. Cue the theme music. They would then come charging through the shed wall on their armoured tractor, absorb the machine gun fire onto their welded armour, shoot the baddies with the watermelons, rescue the girl and ride off into the sunset.
OK, here comes the segue.
I reckon trying to grow a thought leaders practice is a bit like being the A-Team locked in a shed. Go with me here.
None of us come into this with a tank. We don't have the ideal equipment to play this game. We're all cobbling stuff together.
And some of us start with better equipped sheds than others. I moved very quickly through the belts when I launched my practice. I reckon this had very little to do with me (character, intelligence, discipline) and a lot more to do with what was in my shed (my pathology, my neurosis & my circumstances). I'd spent ten years at white belt stocking my shed.
Here's the thing. If you're quick or slow moving through the belts and growing your practice, it has a lot less to do with you than you think.
If you are successful that's a combination of luck, circumstances ... and you don't really deserve the credit for it.
Likewise if you're slow, you don't deserve the blame.
So lighten up, keep doing the work, and in 20 years whether it happened fast or slow will be irrelevant.
In fact the stuff you learn in the slow part might end up being the thing that makes all the difference.