The Disciplined Founder
Every day, my team and I have a 15 minute check-in meeting at 10am. Every Friday, we do a retrospective of the week, where we discuss what went well, what didn’t, and what we want to work on the following week. On Mondays, we outline priorities for that week, relative to the goals we set in our simple one page strategic plan.
It’s pretty routine.
Some might say, boring.
But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years in business – through failure, as much as through success – is that success is often boring. It takes time, patience, effort, and discipline. The tortoise beats the hare, not because he’s physically or intellectually superior, but because he is more focused, perseverant, and disciplined.
There are No Overnight Successes
It took Bill Gates 11 years to take Microsoft public. Steve Jobs took 8. Larry Page and Sergey Brin? 8. These “overnight successes” each took almost a decade before they were as wildly successful as we know them to be today. And this is fast.
For most startups, you can expect at least 24 months, just to get things going.
The one thing each of these people have in common? They are remarkably disciplined. They know their strategic priorities, know how to say “no” to distractions, and focus on what really matters. In fact, this is a trademark of all Super-Achievers
Fall in Love with Boredom
James Clear, one of my favorite entrepreneur blogs, wrote an article a few weeks ago on the importance of falling in love with boredom. In it, he reiterates the notion that there are no overnight successes. Working against us is that we seem to be hardwired for novelty.
He offers two tactics to help fall in love with boredom:
- Increase task proficiency – Whatever the task is, learn the fundamentals, and learn to enjoy the process of improving upon it, incrementally. As you get better at the task, you appreciate it more.
- Fall in love with the result of the task – Loving the outcome/output of the task, rather than the task itself is another way to fall in love with boredom. In my case, I don’t always love blogging or talking to customers, but I do really enjoy watching our pipeline grow. And those tasks contribute directly to pipeline growth.
What Disciplines Do You Need?
Each of us have different companies in different industries, in different stages of development. But, the overarching need to be disciplined and focused are a requirement for all of us. Certainly, for me, it’s a personal priority. It’s why I started thinking as much – if not more – about the things I need to stop doing. And, though I’m not perfect at discipline yet, I am seeing the results of these small efforts. I expect they’ll compound over time.
So, as you prepare to get on with your day, take a minute and think about what routines and disciplines you might need in your own startup. Whether it’s making a minimum number of calls to prospects, having a specific number of customer development interviews each week, developing more product, or managing your budget – there’s probably some linchpin that needs attention. And, when girded with the right routine and discipline, will help your startup take off.
What disciplines do you have or need? Share your thoughts below!