Just Right

Last spring, after several years of renting, we bought a house. Now we needed furniture. My husband wanted to order out of the Pottery Barn catalog, and BOOM, we’d be done. That wasn’t for me. My mother had been an interior designer at one point, and I saw this as my chance. Maybe something subconscious going on—Mom was good at this, so I should be too.

Here’s the problem—I don’t really know how to decorate. I somehow thought that if I watched enough episodes of Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper, I would figure it out.

But it’s been eight months, and we are only now getting traction decorating the very first room—my office. And that’s mostly because my mom took pity on me and started offering suggestions from across the U.S. in Arizona.

I run my business from our Virginia home, so my office needs to be furnished; I’d like the paint on the walls to be something I choose. I have a vision of what the room will look like, but I lack the experience / expertise to realize it on my own. I’m on the launch point of the S Curve, lacking confidence and experiencing firsthand that it’s a place of anxiety. What if I make a mistake? What if it isn’t perfect?

I’ll persist. And at some point, I won’t feel anxious anymore. I’ll have confidence that I can decorate my home; I’ll have gotten the help I need to figure it out, practiced it for a while. But I won’t really notice that I no longer feel anxious looking at an empty room or an unattractive color on the walls. As we hit the sweet spot of an S Curve of Learning, our efforts become more natural to us, comfortable even. And we are far less likely to notice comfort than discomfort.

It’s a magical time, being in the sweet spot. Too bad we rarely acknowledge that we’re there.

We notice if we’re too hot. Or too cold. Hello, Goldilocks. But when the temperature is just right, our attention wanders off.

We notice when we’re hungry, and we know when we’ve eaten too much, but when we’re simply satisfied the mind is free to roam.

We feel discomfort when there’s conflict in a relationship and are hyper-focused in the grip of new love, but when we’re in a companionable relationship our emotional bandwidth often vacations in another clime.

We can be reluctant to talk about things that are working. Maybe we fear appearing as braggarts. Or being one-upped. We can talk about being bored at the top of the S curve (which we do), struggling at the bottom (which we definitely do); we should also talk about being in the sweet spot. We aren’t competing against each other but against our personal S Curve. When we’re in the sweet spot there’s a lot working. Still hard. But not too hard. Not too easy either. Just right. We want to recognize when things are working so we can do more of that.

We asked Jeremy Andrus, formerly the CEO of SkullCandy, now CEO of Traeger Grills, “What’s working for you? What’s it like to be in the sweet spot of your curve?” Traeger has skyrocketed from $70 million in revenue, when he became CEO, to $500 million. The goal is $1 billion. Tune in to the podcast. He’s engaging and thoughtful; there’s a lot to learn from this very successful entrepreneur.

So, here’s my question––

What’s working for you?

Notice it.

Call it out.

It’s the sweet spot.

When you notice what’s working, more things will work.

So happy you are here,

P.S. So that I am walking my talk, calling out my sweet spot, here are two new pieces you may find helpful as you move along your S Curve: First, this video from Harvard Business Review on Disrupting Yourself, and second, a piece by podcast guest Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez and me on how to apply the S Curve to a project, including six questions to ask yourself before you start.

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