We usually think of what more we can do in order to be successful.
There’s so much to do as a startup founder.
The clock very rarely stops. We have to forget the traditional concept of a “weekend” and replace it with the idea of “two more days to make progress.” With so much to do, it’s almost mandatory to continue thinking about what more we can do.
However, we rarely think about what more we can stop doing in order to be happier and more productive.
These are three things I’m going to try and give up in 2017 to be happier and more productive with my startup. Feel free to join!
1. Give up doing things for “likes.”
To steal an idea from Tony Robbins, we’re all seeking significance in one way or another.
So this search for “likes” or “favorites” or “shares” is nothing new to the human race. Rather, social media has simply shed new light on the old human condition. We want attention.
Well, I want to continue to shed myself of that desire.
In the past year, I’ve learned so much about business. One of those lessons is that there are more massive businesses that are built quietly than businesses that are built loudly on social media.
Yes, I understand the marketing game. I understand how social media is a huge lever for many of our businesses.
But I’m talking about the more personal aspect of being an entrepreneur. Do people really need to know what we’re doing? Do we really need to share that inspiring quote, thought on this or that, or another picture of our workspace? I don’t think so.
We don’t need that type of personal validation.
If you’re truly building something that others won’t understand, then forget about how many people passively express how much they like it. Stop checking your phone for notifications about shares. Give it up.
Instead, focus on sales.
2. Give up the false idea of “steps to success.”
Fellow marketers have done a wonderful job of selling hope.
This isn’t a new concept, and it’s not just business people who sell it. Preachers sell it, politicians sell it, anyone can sell it.
One of the pieces of hope that marketers sell is this idea of “steps to success.” If you follow their system, then you’ll make a billion dollars. But just follow the steps.
Here’s the challenge with that approach: if it works, it means the marketer was right. If the steps don’t work, then you did it wrong.
The marketer will always win this battle. And guess who’s waiting for you at the end of the drab colored rainbow? Another marketer, waiting to sell you hope.
I noticed that trend early in 2016 after working very closely with people in that industry.
Since then, I’ve started to replace theoretical “how-to” books and podcasts with biographies of great business people. The neutral biographies provide me with a view of the person’s patterns and approaches, while leaving out the promise of “this will work for you if you work for it.”
The only steps to success are the steps you take. And we don’t know if it’ll work. That’s all unknown.
Welcome to the life of entrepreneurship.
3. Give up the belief that “failure is good.”
I don’t believe we learn from failure, and I don’t believe that failure is good.
Ask your clients if failure is good. Ask your customers if failure is good. Ask your investors. Ask your employees.
Failure is unavoidable. We shouldn’t be scared to fail. However, we can’t come up with excuses that are designed to make failure something that’s good.
That’s where I think we’ve gone wrong with failure.
We should strive to create things that are awesome because we have the ability to create awesome things. It’s a responsibility. The idea of a “minimum viable product” has (thankfully) pervade startup theory. Unfortunately, we tend to put more emphasis on the “minimum” part of the sentence, then forget that it must also be “viable.”
Viable products are things that have the potential to solve the problem without major changes.
Let’s create more viable products on the first swing, and less minimal products. I’ve already started to do this, and the results have been wonderful.
What did I leave out? And what are some things you’re giving up next year to live happier and be more productive?
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Photo: Flickr/Hung Thai