Startup leaders are different. I’ve found that the winners lead in special ways.
A leader knows where he or she going and can convince others to follow. The key words are “where” and “convince.”
“Where” is about the vision thing – seeing. It’s about where the startup could go. It’s about the big thing in the future, the final objective. Those are vision thinkers proposing where they intend to go with their idea for a new enterprise. Somehow, they see in the fog a next great thing – something that the rest of us cannot see.
“Convince” is about the people thing – persuasion. Getting people to follow you along a difficult, uncharted, risky trail. Persuading them to saddle up with you on the startup journey, in spite of unknowns, risks and fears.
It’s an Adventure
Startup leaders see themselves on an adventure and work hard to keep it that way for everyone.
IT’S AN ADVENTURE!
- Unknowns - How will all this turn out?
- Risk - How will the dream come true?
- Treasure - What will I find along the way?
- Have FUN along the journey! - Wahoo! This is better than working!
Urgency Drives Startup Leaders
A hyper sense of urgency drives startup leaders. “Only the paranoid win.” It’s intense, they live it daily. Never goes away.
(Excessive) Optimism and Confidence Dominate
Optimism is in the soul of the startup leader. It’s always there. Its companion is strong confidence. To such people, to err is to not be over-confident.
Health Is Challenged
Startup veterans, the serial entrepreneurs, know the disabling power of health deterioration.
They commit to strict health maintenance programs, spending daily time and sweat to keep body and brain in top condition. It’s how they are able to continue running the stress-filled startup marathon. They set the example for what becomes a vital element of the company’s culture, for others to follow.
Spirit Is Challenged
Startup veterans respect how tough it is to keep your spirit positive while riding the wild startup rollercoaster. They expect a lot of things to go very wrong. That’s why they study what they are going to encounter.
Startup leaders remain extra alert for signs that a dangerous emotional downward spiral has begun in themselves (or in a prized employee, or friend).
When spotted, they get help immediately from multiple sources:
- Licensed professional counselors. Not reading a book. Not watching a TED video. Pros only. Real $$$$.
- Best friend. Not got one? Then get one, before you do your startup.
- Spouse (or that person you live with). Give permission to confront you with reality.
- Support groups. Entrepreneurial peer groups that talk privately about the dread secret fears, job stress, and personal coping each has. Not the ones that only talk about business issues. Think AA power.
- And don’t forget that many individuals have found consolation and encouragement from religious sources.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!