Getting out of the blocks

finding purpose in the struggle to start

"On your marks....get set....keep going!"

I’m lucky enough to work with a number of Millennials that are in the process of starting businesses, and it is a great way to stay in touch with the excitement that inevitably surrounds growing a business for the first time.

It can also be frustrating.

Alot has been said about Millennials as they start to join the workforce in waves now, but I think broadly it is a function of we “older-folks” forgetting the struggles we had when we were younger.  I always try to remember that when helping young people, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have challenges.

Today we hit one of the classic struggles that everyone faces when starting something new….getting started. 

Everyone hates the first part

Getting started is hard!  For everyone.  Even if you’re passionate about a business (or any pursuit), getting the thing off the ground is difficult.

Let me clarify.  Passion for an idea can shoot you out of the blocks fast, but passion doesn’t get a business started.

Getting started requires moving from the realm of ideas to practicality, and inevitably that means losing momentum.  When that happens the first time you think there is something wrong with you or your idea.

There isn’t.  It happens to everyone.  (The difference between success and failure is often how you deal with that feeling at EVERY stage, but I digress).  

What I tried to get across to these Millennials today is that when you feel that loss of momentum, you have to ENGAGE.

Double-down.  Dig-in.  Prepare to fight your instinct to run.  Engage.

Just sticking-around isn’t enough

Everyone knows that success is never guaranteed, but there is a tendency to think that tenacity alone can bridge that gap.


There are no guarantees, but you can absolutely, positively ensure failure if you don’t

– outlast your doubts, and

INVEST your time, talent and treasure.

Make the effort.  Commit.  You may not even be sure that you’ve found a business that will ever serve one customer, but you should give it every chance to do so.

Failure is just as important as success in setting the tone for a business (and your entire career), so investment of time/talent/treasure is never wasted.

These young people had the ability, the excitement and the know-how to make a great start on their businesses, but today the struggle was about something much simpler.

The struggle was about whether or not they would be willing to ENGAGE and INVEST long enough for all the rest of those things to matter.

Answering that question won’t be a one-time event.

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