In many martial arts including Brazilian jiujitsu there is a belt system.

White, blue, purple, brown, black.

You can tell how proficient and experienced someone is by the belt they have.

The belt system could be applied to most sports. White belt: just getting started, learning the ropes, finding their feet, practicing the basics. Black belt: competed at the highest level, understands the theory, practices often, committed to excellence, teaches others.

The belt system can’t be applied to entrepreneurship.

Someone who was a black belt in raising investment and securing billion dollar exits would be a black belt by one measure of success, but they might be a white belt in running a lifestyle business or bootstrapping their way to revenue.

A black belt in paid media might not know how to grow a company without spending cash on ads. A black belt solo founder, using only freelancers, might crumble when faced with running a team.

It’s nuanced. One ladder of success doesn’t apply to everyone. We all want different things, and that’s okay.

What’s the belt system you’re subscribing to and what does each rung entail? How will you know when you’ve reached the top?