You want to make your move. Launch your idea. Throw your hat in the ring.
But your competitors look awfully intimidating.
They got there first. They own that space. And if their social media feeds are any indication, they’re absolutely killing it in every possible way.
From afar, your rivals seem to possess a mythical, insurmountable strength that is qualitatively different from your own.
Of course, they put on their pants one leg at a time, just like you do.
They’re not always confident they’re making the right decisions. They wonder if they’re on the right track. They worry about who’s coming up behind them, eager to take their place.
They’re just as human as you are — and just as vulnerable to disruption.
This is a lesson Ulysses S. Grant learned in the opening months of the Civil War.
Grant had been out of the army for seven years and working in a leather goods store when he was commissioned a colonel and put in charge of an Illinois militia.
He had served in the Mexican-American War, but as a quartermaster.
He had never held command.
Thus as Grant marched his men towards their first attack, “my heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt as though it was in my throat.”
Yet as he reached the top of a hill, expecting to see the enemy assembled in the valley below, he was surprised by what he saw instead:
“The place where [the Confederates] had been encamped was still there . . . but the troops were gone. My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that [Colonel] Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards.”