Why Are You Doing This: Meditations on Entrepreneurship
When is the last time you paused to consider how magnificently difficult it is to be a founder, entrepreneur, or CEO?
Have you taken stock of the immense personal, financial, and emotional challenges that the life you’ve chosen demand of you?
Worst of all, have you calculated the immense sacrifices you’ve made for this life? Do you know how that shakes out as your personal, experiential P&L?
If you’re still sane, then I’m guessing you’re “No’s” across the board.
And look, I’m not trying to freak you out. Just kidding. I definitely am. In fact, I’d like you to be terrified.
Your life drips away at an almost imperceptible pace until, one day, you wake up in deep angst over how much of it you’ve wasted. And I just fucking can’t take the chance that I could have helped you turn that around and said nothing because it’s “bad marketing.”
So if you’re still reading, you’re probably courageous, deranged, or both. Either way, you’re clearly my people at this point, so I’d like to help.
Now, back to our title: “Why are you doing this?" I mean it quite literally, and practically. No flighty, pie-in-the-sky bullshit. Why are you doing this? Freedom? The fun and excitement of the challenge? Affirmation? Money (which is just freedom again, albeit it future freedom)?
Here’s the scoop: until you have down “on paper” and programmed into regular, externally supported accountability & review some very specific answers to the above, your shit is sunk. Rinsed. Hosed. Fucked. Hopeless.
And listen, that shit is hard. So here’s how to stop dragging yourself through aimless stress and angst and actually accomplish what you want. (thank me later):
1. Start by defining your non-negotiable week.
Think about this like the financial principle of filling your savings by “paying yourself first.” What pillars of your week need to support the foundation of all your success? What is so important that no amount of growth or “success” can supersede it? It helps to fill the following categories with your answers:
Individual: what makes you, fundamentally, who you are. How do you fill your own cup before you can be of any use to anyone else? This could be fitness, spirituality, or good ol’ fashioned fun.
Family: what do your spouse and kids (and maybe your siblings and/or parents) need from you that, if you neglected to grow your business, would leave you with irreversible guilt?
Visionary/Strategist/Thought Leader: you need to dream, study, explore, and ideate if you’re going to effectively lead your organization, period. Plus all your little bullshit work gets so much easier when you fill this tank.
2. Next, define your top-level targets. No, not the businesses targets. Yours.
Being a founder can suck, but there’s one benefit with a ton o weight: you can run the company to create the life you want. So you should know how much upside you want, and what you’d like to do with that. Then, we’re gonna go make the company make it real for you.
3. Finally, define the business’s targets to support your non-negotiable week and personal targets.
Sure, it gets complex. This is easier said than done. But look, choose the targets, go chase ‘em, reflect on wins and losses, learn and adjust, and keep getting better at setting those targets. You’re not gonna stumble any more than you did before, but now at least you have a clear window into why you’re doing this: a tangible, achievable picture of the life you want.
Your life matters too much to leave it to blow away in the wind. You deserve to have your life be what you want right now.
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