This is the Cycle of Self-realization and How it Affects Your Business Growth
What if someone went up to you and told you what you could expect to happen to you in the future if you just committed yourself to make your big idea happen? What if pursuing this one big idea could change your life forever? Additionally, what if I told you that there’s a science behind the process, and if you understand it, you’ll be able to handle the ups and downs much better?
What I’m telling you is that there’s a tool that you can use to help you pursue your big goals and that also prov
ides you with solutions for each stage so you can make the road less bumpy. I’m not saying there won’t be struggles; the tool can only prepare you for the main stages on your road to making ideas happen — it’s always better to be prepared than not.
Let’s dive in.
I grew up in a non-entrepreneurial family, so there was no one I could turn to for advice. I had no money to buy business books and I didn’t meet the prerequisite, so at the age of 19 I started interviewing outstanding, successful people on their journey of self-realization. They prepared me for what was to come while I started pursuing my own path.
That was 11 years ago.
I’ve since published 9 bestselling books and was named the most influential blogger in Hungary by Forbes. After many years, I still ask the same questions, and the people who are now answering them are actor Penn Badgley, TV personality Dr. Oz, youtuber Jake Paul, superstar DJ Martin Garrix.
After working on figuring out over 600 entrepreneurs’ missions and interviewing dozens of influential people, they proved my theory right:
it doesn’t matter how much money you make, how many followers you have, or where you’re from–the cycle of fully committing to making things happen provides us all with similar stages and experiences.
When I took a closer look at the Gartner Hype Cycle that explains how a technology or application will evolve over time, I realized something: that’s the cycle that I can use for telling the stories of the people I work with or interview, and it can even help me understand my own story better. I am a natural analyzer, and I’m all about understanding how we can connect to each other, so you can imagine what discovering this tool meant to me.
Then I took a closer look at the cycle, and all the interviews I had conducted and realized:
there’s another cycle behind the journey of making an idea happen, and it affects your success more than you think. This is the emotional journey of self-discovery.
These two happen concurrently while you’re building a business, and if you can’t learn how to harmonize them, your career will stagnate, no matter how far you’ve come.
Let’s take a closer look!
-1 stage: The Beginning of the Beginning
If the first stage is the one when you are excited to take action, the -1 stage is everything leading up to that. The closer you get to the first stage, the higher the motivation is to change your average life or leave your comfort zone. In most of the cases, something undesirable happens that forces you to change. The present is not comfortable anymore, and an uncomfortable, unsure future is much better than living a life that doesn’t challenge or fulfill you.
1st stage: Hustle
This is the stage where you work endless hours. You grab a coffee 4–5 times a day, hoping that it will keep you awake while you are learning how to code, build a website, or start your new business, all while trying to squeeze in 5 days worth of work into 24 hours. You work for free, build your network, go to events, pour your money into your idea, dig deep into Gary Vee videos–all while your circle is trying to help you to find a normal job. Even your mom. But you don’t care, because you know that you will make things happen on your own eventually. “Hustle porn” actually serves you here: you can’t change your life without putting effort in it. The 10,000 hours rule helps get you to stage 3.
2nd stage: Grow
You’ve gained all the knowledge you need to complete tasks quicker–the ones that used to take 8 hours to finish now only take 1–2 hours. The first time since you’ve started you feel comfortable–that’s how you know you are here. Yet that’s also when growth stops, and you have to think outside the box, and use those connections you’ve made. This is the stage you need to think about involving others into whatever you do. Campaigns, giveaways, collaborations, starting a podcast, building an engaged community, organizing events, and so on. These are not only good endeavors because they help you grow on social and offline, but they can also help you grow your portfolio. You can only leave this stage once you stop trying so hard, and your attitude becomes less focused on the outcome and more on the journey.
3rd stage: Fear of missing out
All your efforts have paid off. Everyone wants to work with you and possibilities are all around. You get that role, or the investment, or your book gets published. Everything that seemed impossible is now happening. This is the stage of euphoria, where the main demon that doesn’t let you to stop is the fear of missing out (FOMO). You don’t want to say no to anything because you remember how much you’ve worked for all of these opportunities. You can easily lose control over your life in this stage when “yes” people start appearing who only want to be around you because they can benefit from you. FOMO and the motivation to prove yourself makes it harder to stop.
4th stage: Peak
This is the stage where anything can happen–but you may still have this weird feeling that something is off. You would talk to others about it, but they just don’t understand you. If you get the usual “What’s your problem? You are living the dream!” you decide to not talk about it anymore, or you completely shut down. Asking yourself, “What if they are right? You have no right to feel like this,” is what most of the people think at that stage. You overdo it because you don’t want to disappoint anyone. You go on stage even if you feel physical pain, you work one more hour, even when you can’t even focus out of exhaustion.
Related: Jake Paul interview
5th stage: Peak Monster
The mixture of ignoring the pain and trying to satisfy everyone takes you to the 5th stage, where the “peak monster” appears. The peak monster triggers your biggest fear, which is why it’s so dangerous. It also brings you valuable lessons that you will only understand at stage 7. By this stage, you may have lost touch with your authentic self, and it can be a weird state of mind where the main goal is surviving each day and ignoring pain (or even self-medicating). Some respond by using drugs, medications, drinking, or isolating themselves. These destructive habits are still hidden from outsiders and friends, but that can make it worse, because no one can help. It’s at the end of this stage when people in your circle may start to realize that something is wrong.
Related: Dyro interview
6th stage: Rock Bottom
This is the stage where life forces you to stop and take a breather. You might overdo it on the self-destructive habits, realize that you’ve been up for five days in a row, feel extremely burned out, or even have a health issue arise. You could potentially get so disconnected from yourself that you make a terrible business decision that leads to almost losing your company. Also, it’s important to mention that “rock bottom” looks different for different people, and may not be as extreme as my examples above. You just know when you’ve had enough.
7th stage: Damage Control
You can’t hide your pain anymore–you are forced to face reality and make some positive changes in your life. You have the option to continue on the burnout path, but that is not recommended. By the time you get to the end of stage 7, you understand that you can only move forward by wanting to do it for yourself, and not for others. Getting to stage 8 can sometimes take years.
8th stage: Developing Boundaries
This stage is all about developing healthy boundaries. This is the first time in your life that you learn how to say no to things and put yourself first. You are not trying to satisfy others at your own expense. Your focus is on taking care of yourself and enjoying the process of making things happen. If someone affects you negatively, you just shrug it off and move on. You can tell if someone is in this stage; common clues are having a strict morning routine, meditation habit, or some other special ways of managing their time, work, and stress.
9th — You 2.0
The moment you understand you don’t have to be afraid that one day the peak monster will take you down again, you get to this stage: You 2.0. By arriving here, you understand that you have to do what you love for yourself, and not for anyone else. This is where the cycle starts growing again, but in a much healthier way. Part of the reason is because you’ve learned so many lessons from the first 7 stages that you exactly know what to prepare for, and how to work smarter, not harder. Hustle here is not an option; free weekends, retreats, and meditation are.
If you take a look at the cycle again, you realize that what is really happening here is this: the first 6 stages prepare you to be able to become who you really are, the authentic you that is driven by a real purpose and vision.