I was chatting with my brother who’s gone through the full gamut recently of putting together a new project(s) and I shared with him earlier this morning these three powerful and omnipresent principles that always seem to happen, regardless of how experienced one might be in building new projects and/or companies.
Even for myself and my new-ish project, Pinpoint, our team has experienced these things in spades! And, of course, I’ve experienced it countless times when putting together smaller indie projects and apps as well:
- It takes much, much longer than you originally anticipate to get things really moving.
- The number of iterations (and even more substantive pivots) required is more than you originally planned.
- What you end up ultimately executing against or shipping to market is oftentimes dramatically different than the original concept.
Longer time, many more iterations, and a different product. This is like the canonical journey for any startup of note.
I also believe a very similar (or exact) thing happens with people as we grow and mature, both personally and professionally. Part of this has to do with our never-ending quest on person-market fit.
It’s also not surprising that when I originally wrote that post I was hacking together a new project that ultimately failed to reach any meaningful milestone and I scrapped it altogether.
Instead, following those 3 perennial principles, it took much more time than I had planned and it took an entirely different set of partners and an entirely different product to get to something meaningful and worthwhile.
Just as my brother who’s iterated through politics, video games, and now bitcoin and cryptocurrency to land on what he hopes to be a fresh start to a new season of his personal and professional life in an entirely different landscape.
Sure, it’s only been 5 months and some change for my brother but the fatigue and the frustration of having to walk through and experience the 3 principles is tough to swallow and deal with.
To be honest, I think most people quit during these seasons because they can’t seem to see through the trees to see the much larger forest of opportunity.
Or rather, they get so discouraged by the seemingly-miniscule returns that they give up way too early.
This is why I think it’s also important to have these 3 things in your life as well to optimize and maximize your ability to weather the inevitable bouts of anxiety and depression that will attack you psychologically as you “work out” your newest project or startup:
- Meaningful relationships that you can speak with honestly and openly about your struggles, anxieties, and concerns. This is supremely difficult for most people.
- Staying maximally healthy in all aspects of your life: Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and relationally (see #1 above).
- Never give up the fight to cut out unnecessary distractions, pare down superficial responsibilities, and simply focus.
I could spend a ton of time talking about all 3 of these areas but I think they speak for themselves.
For me, my wife and my brother are my go-to relationships when talking about my fears and my anxieties about building new projects and a new company. I speak honestly and candidly and I hold nothing back. I also have a therapist and psychiatrist that I see regularly as well and a system of coaches and mentors. I highly recommend you do the same.
I religiously engage in physical health, finding time to be in the gym every single day. I eat better than I ever have and watch my diet through a number of systems that my wife and professionals have helped curate. I pray, meditate, and also engage in emotional discovery and spiritual conversations regularly.
Finally, I’ve been on a massive quest to remove a ton of bullshit out of my own personal life, even paring down larger and very satisfying indie projects to utterly focus on my startup. This has been easier than it sounds, but, I still find personal time to do creative individual work via my vlog project, which has been difficult to keep up with but very deeply and personally rewarding.
I also have quit most social media services which has created an untold return of focus and personal bandwidth. Removing Twitter and cleaning up services like LinkedIn to almost nothing have been a godsend – I can’t tell you how amazing these sets of decisions have been on my cognitive and emotional stability.
You can do it… you just can’t do it alone. But you knew that already, right?