Create A Legacy of Trying
This could also be subtitled something like: NOT "Putting out" Only Works When You are Looking for a Girlfriend (and then sometimes "not-so-much")... or The "E" for Effort stands for "Everytime"...
And so I give you some musings on "trying" and (2) videos you need to watch...
If you run a search on The DEW View for the idea of effort, you get like 50 or 60 posts on everything from investigating the best of open source technology to how to run a presentation so that people stay awake to how to get back up when you get your ass kicked (all good topics, I hear...). The reason I am writing another post on the idea of trying is that a lot of entrepreneurs I speak with get the idea of trying all wrong. They think "trying" is something to do after planning or building or everything else... TRYING is what you DO while you DO all those OTHER things!
Start-ups have one really differentiating quality -- the art of trying harder. Sure market timing, customer sensitivity, price incentives, management insight, cash flow, and a thousand other micro-factors impact your chance of success. Sometimes, these factors have a HUGE impact on your success. But the great equalizer is the effort the entrepreneur (YOU) puts into their own success.
Trying harder, better yet, "trying harder smarter" is the ONLY guarantee that you have.
You can't change the economic outlook to get better financial terms. You can't change international geo-political trade regulations to grow new markets. You can't force people to care about you are doing...
YOU CAN ALWAYS TRY HARDER SMARTER!
I read this some time back and recently did a re-read of all 96 pages. It's a 45 minutes pithy read on WHEN you need to quit. Seth did a brilliant job of talking about this concept called the DIP, where most entreprenuers give up (or "stop trying" in DEW-speak).
I like that Seth puts some science behind the experience that I have been through several times in my life. I certainly have been in the DIP several times in my career and it's BRUTAL.... until you power out the bottom of the curve and get superstar results. Life is miserable at the bottom until you "figure out if you have enough guts to keep pushing".
When critics complained to Abraham Lincoln that his leading general was a drunk, Lincoln made the witty response:
"Tell me what brand of whiskey Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals."
That summed up Lincoln's analysis of what he wanted from his leadership -- not DRUNKENNESS but FIGHT! (By the way, the story of Grant as a warrior is inspiring by itself. He had no friends and no real experience like General Robert E. Lee and yet his courage to FIGHT on was a deciding factor in his success. He didn't quit...)
Have you ever noticed that quitting is something that we perfect as we get older?
We try to say sophisticated things like "market research indicates that current demand ratios point to slower growth patterns" or "I need to think about this some more. I don't want to make the wrong decision". What we really need to say is something along the lines of "I am really scared right now. I think I have a great idea and I passionate about it, but I could lose everything if I'm wrong." Now we'll getting somewhere. Now we have the personal integrity that is foundation for deep-rooted, passionate enterprise.
It's hard work. No one said being successful would be easy. But you CAN do it. You CAN be the WINNER you want to be. If you are in a DIP right now, here are a few things you can do to stay sane and motivated:
- Recognize that you are in a DIP. There is no use denying the obvious...
- Refocus your attention on the basics (customers and cash flow)...
- Rationalize what "seems" or "seemed" to be working into a process that you can examine at a later date...
- Repeat to yourself and anyone who will listen your core values driving what you are doing...
There is no silver bullet that makes your pain go away or your fear of failure disappear. You are your own best medicine.
Let me leave you with this quote from a reader and commenter of The DEW View, Lydia Sugarman: "I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't..." If you really understand that quote then you are on your way to creating your own legacy of trying!