The Power of Purpose, Hope and Patient Impatience

September 28, 2011

10:27 am

Starting a new company is exciting. Building a company is thrilling. Seeing your idea grow and take off is exhilarating. Reality, on the other hand, can hit you as hard as a pro-bowl NFL linebacker.

When you’re starting up a new venture, you must start with the premise that nothing will go exactly as planned.  Projects will always cost twice as much and take twice as long as your original estimates. There are so many more hurdles waiting for you than you anticipate, and if you’re not willing to accept that reality, then go punch a time clock, because you ain’t going to make it as an entrepreneur.

“He who has a why for life can bear almost any how.”
Frederick Nietzsche

So some stuff to take with you on the difficult journey:

  1. Why – Have a why. When crap hits the fan, people who have a purpose bigger than themselves, more meaningful than getting rich and famous, tend to push through the bad times.
  2. Hope – People who survive difficult situations do so with a belief that they will prevail.  People who fail think there is no hope, give up and meet their expectations of failure.  Those that get through tough times do so with a belief that they will overcome.
  3. Patience – Know that it will get better.  Don’t put a date on when.  Be patient.  One step at a time.  If you say it will get better this quarter and it doesn’t, you’ll be disappointed.  If you say it will get better in the future and you keep putting one foot in front of the other, it will.  Measure progress and movement towards a goal.
  4. Impatience – Walk the thin line between impatience and demanding rapid results.  Be patient and understand that making progress does not immediately translate into success.  Be patient with goals, while demanding and impatient to take actions that lead to winning.

Lastly, I leave you with the words of Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Victor Frankl:

“ I therefore admonish my students in Europe and America: Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run – in the long-run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”

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Glen Hellman (@glehel), is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and works for venture capitalists as a turn-around specialist. He is the Chief Entrepreneureator at Driven Forward LLC, frequently muses on his blog, Forward Thinking, and works with entrepreneurs to help them figure out what to do and get them to do it.

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