You must continue to work on the future even if you are fighting to stay alive.
This is an essential skill of serial entrepreneurs. They can both do and dream at the same time.
Employees need hope: both for today and for tomorrow. Today's hope gets them to work. Tomorrow's hope gets them energized. As CEO you have to deliver both.
You may be up to your neck in alligators, struggling to cut costs, keeping cash flow positive or finding enough sales collections to meet payroll. But you still have to spend time thinking about shaping your company's future. It may be done in the shower, during commute time or over short sandwiches, but it must be done.
You invent the future with your core team and employees. Many are the times when I've watched an introvert engineer or young marketing person pop up with a very cool idea that is a company maker. You need everyone thinking about what the company can do to fulfill its best in the future.
Overcoming organizational fear and cynicism is a skill you have to have or learn. It is central to your role as CEO and company leader. That is one of your prime human resource skills. It will become vital as you work on inventing the startup's future.
BOTTOM LINE: Startups are about the future. They are about the promise of tomorrow. Like children with eager parents, they are excited about what they can become. Meanwhile the struggle of daily life goes on. As you execute your company plan, it will include inventing the future. When you can both do and dream in your startup, you will have made a great contribution to your unfair competitive advantage.