When asking clients to think about their vision for the future of their company (and by implication for themselves personally), I am struck by how much difficulty even very entrepreneurial types can have in seeing the potential for their business.
It can be hard to think of what your company can do without comparing it (and you) to your perception of those around you. Our knowledge of how others are performing is our most used reality check and if those you know are struggling to build their businesses beyond a certain level, or have failed in the attempt, then this can be a very real factor in limiting your vision and ambition.
Writing in the Sunday Times a while back, Dominic Lawson was discussing the general UK approach to the very rich and used a great metaphor to describe our attitudes to success:
It is, he suggested ‘like the person who thinks he is a great success being able to fly business class, until he sees someone he knows walking past him into the first class cabin’.
He expanded the metaphor to describe the plight of the remaining vast majority of the passengers, who ‘turning right when they enter the aircraft can see no difference between those who turn left’.
If you never aim to fly First Class, the chances are that you never will.