Sometimes the need to upgrade is obvious.
Your shoes are worn out. Your car kicked the bucket. You left your phone in a pocket and put it through a cycle in the washing machine (and, if you’re me, maybe also the dryer…).
Things break. They expire. They make it very clear when its time to move on.
But what about people?
People can be resources too, and just like things, sometimes they need to be upgraded.
Take Olympic athletes, for example. I’d make a wager that most of them first discovered their love for their sport at home. Mom or dad bought them a bike, dropped them in the pool, or taught them how to somersault. But unless mom and dad happen to be a pro, they’re probably not the ones who ushered their child to Olympic glory.
They showed her the basics, told her to keep their eye on the ball, watched her get better, and then passed her off to a little league coach. Who taught them some more things and sent her to high school, who graduated her to a college team, and so on and so forth.
The same can be true for the people who help you.
Early mentors are the inspiration. The cheerleaders. They’re the people who believed in you from the beginning and helped out to the best of their abilities. But if these people aren’t still moving you forward, it’s time to upgrade.
Some of those people you pay for, like accountants and attorneys. Some people, like mentors, are just there because they’re excited about your idea and want to help. These people may have been integral to your startup in its early stages, but if you’re outgrowing them, they should know when to refer you out.
Sometimes it’s not about following advice better, it’s about finding better advice.