Thoughts on entrepreneurship, startups, and tech.


If You See The Constellations, Then You're Already Half Way There

I met someone last night at a meetup. He just got out of a corporate job and was weighing ideas and opportunities. Becoming an entrepreneur was unquestionably something that was tickling him. He explained his concept in great detail (which was quite impressive) and even brought up the pros and the cons. The homework showed he had identified a genuine market and his business model was proven. He had all the soft and hard skills. He was both passionate and convincing, even showing tangible signs of emotional intelligence. He had done the work. Everything was aligned. He had everything going for him. But not the drive. He didn't want to start.

Life is like the monkey bars: you have to let go to move forward.

Something was holding my new friend back, and I pressed on to find out why. After much talk, it appeared just like a deer in the headlights. He had conceived the whole project, each stage, as a solo adventure. That's why he had cold feet. He knew what needed to be done and how to do it, but not with who. He was stuck. Entrepreneurs have a natural inclination to go it alone. While this do-it-yourself spirit can help, it is also an impediment. He didn't need to do it all by himself, he needed to bring people around him to make things shift. The start is always the hardest. The superhuman founder fallacy limits so many to follow through on their ideas. Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something. It gets the sparks flying.

Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future.

So I told him that he wasn't alone. He had people around him that could help him achieve his dream. He practically mentioned them by name in his pitch. But he didn't see them, it was like he had "horse blinders." And this is one thing that no one talks about. Especially those in the tight circle around entrepreneurs, the so-called professionals, they simply say "you need a team." But that's just for the souls that make it to them. How about all those, who never get that far, like my new pal? Until I urged him for his deepest aspirations, he was stuck in Neverland and probably would have stayed there for a while.

The astronomer sees things that most don't. When he looks to the stars, he sees constellations and forms. You don't until he shows you the patterns and makes them come to life. That's what I said to my fellow meetup attendee. He doesn't need to be the doer, but the one who sees something, and inspires others.

So I suggested that he circle back to the people he mentioned in his pitch and instead of explaining his project, he should convert them into ingredients. But before he did that, he needed to address one more thing. Himself. The secret to building a team starts with self-acceptance. Only when he can recognize his weaknesses, limitations, and quirks will he be able to uncover the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect. The essential components of building trust and commitment. And the team he needs to move his project forward.

That’s what he needs to do to move forward. And I hope he does.