Getting (and Staying) Ahead of the Curve


Getting (and Staying) Ahead of the Curve

It’s easy to get to first place when you’re still hyped up on adrenaline.

When things are new and sexy still, you can rely on pure passion and excitement to keep you going.

But once you’re ahead of the curve and leading the pack, you get comfortable and start lowering your guard.

You stop pushing yourself to put in the extra effort, which is what got you there in the first place.

You start becoming complacent.

It’s not getting ahead of the curve that’s the tough part. Staying there is where you’ll find the most difficult challenges.

You begin having days where you don’t feel like doing anything.

After all, do you really have to? You’re already ahead, right? Why keep going at full capacity?

Well, you’ve got to keep pushing yourself for one simple reason: the next person is working just as hard as you started, aiming to take your place as #1.

There are people out there right now who are working twice as hard, or even 10 times as hard, to surpass you.

They’re fueled by the same passion that got you to your throne and they’re not going to stop.

When I first started Growth Ninja, I felt like I was struck by an infinite supply of passion and determination. I was, fortunately, making progress nearly right out of the gate and things were good.

A friend of mine also started his own business around the same timeframe. In a lot of ways, he was my rival and benchmark for my own performance.

For some time, I was ahead of him. My name was spreading further and wider. My income was growing at a faster pace.

My business even managed to get to the coveted five-figures a month mark before his business did.

Then… I got comfortable. I stopped running at full speed.

And while I was slowing down ever so slightly, he only increased his pace. He pumped his arms faster and faster. He took longer strides and kept his focus.

Surely enough, he outlapped me. His business is now bringing in nearly double what mine is each month (despite the fact that mine is still growing month-to-month).

But it’s not only because I slowed down. It’s because he kept running faster and faster, regardless of how well he was doing.

He has that kind of determination that gets him ahead of the curve and allows him to stay there with several laps further than the rest of us.

We all need that same sort of drive if we want to be great. If we want to lead and not follow behind the leader.

What’re you and I doing to get ahead of the curve and stay there forever?

Photo by dagwald / under CC BY

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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13 responses to Getting (and Staying) Ahead of the Curve

  1. Hi Vincent,

    Complacency – that’s our number 1 enemy.

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring us with your story. Apparently, being good enough is not enough. We always have to strive to be the best, to run at full speed and to not be complacent even if we are already ahead!

    Have an awesome day!


  2. Very true Vincent! I think a big key in the puzzle is learning to remain detached from outcome. The problem with that mentality thought is that, obviously, we are human, and it’s hard to not be excited by success. For whatever reason, that excitement causes the complacency that you describe and when I experience it, I lose that chip on shoulder that gets me to the top. Ironically though, I regain that hustle mentality when I do fall down after a string of successes. I think that ebb and flow between hustle and relaxing is normal, but it sucks to get burned when relaxing too much haha. It hurts!! If there were ways to sustain that hustle for longer stretches of time, that would be most ideal. I’m in medical school and one way I guard against complacency is to write down all of my learning topics and check mark each time I pass through one. It’s an objective measure and it helps me stay grounded and not carried away from “feel good” emotions. But there are times that I convince myself that I am too good for that method and that’s when I get lazy/burned. Why do we self sabotage like that??

    Anyway, thanks for the article as always. It is something many people struggle with, I’m sure!

    • Very practical tip with the checkboxing technique. I like that! Gives you a roadmap and it keeps you accountable for when you reflect to see how well you’re keeping up with your own goals. 🙂

  3. Hey Vincent!

    I really enjoyed this article!

    It’s really easy in the beginning but every year you’re in business makes it harder and harder to stay passionate and focused on your business.

    This has really re-awakwned my desire to continue to grow and improve each month!


    I’ll definitely be back for some more motivation!

  4. It depends upon so many reasons that a person reach on peak of his business then relaxes that it is enough because might be he did work too hard to get that stage but some companies keep improving and never sit and relax . Inspiring article though .

  5. A very important criteria for success, perseverance. And it really helps if you have someone cheering from the sideline. Being our own cheerleader is difficult when tired or sick. Also retaining the passion for the original charter of your company requires continual attention. I found that keeping the customer first in mind gave me the drive and energy to keep exceeding my own expectations. Of course then I needed more and more help as the customer list grew and their desires for more of the good stuff naturally went up too. Eventually, you’ll need a good manager to take some of the load when you decide to go to the next great idea. Take care and pick them wisely. It doesn’t take many disappointed customers to sabotage your hard work. Maybe you can give us some insight into some of the difficulties in providing good customer service in a future post.

    • Good idea!

      Starting to notice myself writing a lot more of these business-focused articles (from a narrative perspective anyway) but I think these same ideas can be applied in most areas too.

      • Agree. Tell us sometime about your dealings with customers without divulging specific names, even from your work with eMarketing, writing your book, your posts, empire flippers . . . How you keep them in front without letting them overwhelm you.

        • I’ve actually talked about this a couple times in different podcast interviews.

          The first thing I do on sales calls isn’t trying to sell them on me. I’m already confident in my services and my unique selling proposition.

          My main goal is to disqualify prospects (to see if they’re not going to be a good fit from a business perspective and personal point of view).

          I’m very careful with who I decide to work with because I know that if we don’t get along from a personal level or if their character just isn’t a good fit, my job becomes 100x harder. There’s nothing worse than your heart skipping a beat every time you receive an email from a bad client.

          They don’t overwhelm me because I’m selective. The times they have overwhelmed me was because I didn’t do a good job during disqualification.

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