Startup life requires you to go all in on something, to have total belief in what you are doing and to be completely passionate about it. And then, when it doesn't work out as planned you have to kill it and move on as quickly as possible.
You have conversations with friends and family that go like this:
"Oh let me tell you all about the New Thing. It's so amazing. This is the one. It's incredible. We are totally sure this is going to work." Lots of hype, lots of smiles, lots of arms in the air! You might raise a toast to the New Thing. All is well, exciting and wonderful.
A few months later, or perhaps even a couple of years later, you may have to have a conversation that goes like this:
"Ah yes, the New Thing, isn't really working out as planned. We are going to kill this idea. It's all a bit stressful at the moment." You try to move the conversation along a bit because family and friends may be looking very concerned and worried. They don't work in startups and aren't really used to this idea that some things will work and some things won't.
What I really hope for is that we don't really see friends and family during those times but instead they come back when the conversation goes like this...
"Oh let me tell you all about the New Thing. It's so amazing. This is the one. It's incredible. We are totally sure this is going to work."
They might look a bit confused. But what about the old New Thing? They might also look like "Umm...we've heard this before." They will probably be suspicious of the New Thing because all the other New Things haven't worked.
But you have to once again go all in on it, to have total belief in what you are doing and to be completely passionate about it. The startups that haven't worked are all great experiences for learning lots of stuff that will no doubt help you in the latest New Thing.
For my own startup ventures this can all be tricky. It can sometimes feel like I am flitting from one thing to another. That I am constantly reinventing myself or what I do. That I don't really have passion in what I am doing because if I did then I would still be doing it. I often worry about what friends and family must think.
But it's also really hard in my role as a startup wife. I have to have complete belief and trust in what Stef is doing. I sometimes get really attached to an idea. At the back of my mind I'm daydreaming about what life will be like if this really is the big idea, the one that will finally bring some stability and security to our crazy startup life.
I have to convince my friends and family that what he is doing is amazing, that this is going to be the one. And then take it all back when it fails, and come back with all the exciting hype when the new thing begins!
Stef has been talking to me about 'strong ideas, loosely held' and this has really helped me to look at all this in a positive light. We can have strong ideas, combined with passion and belief, but we are ready to put these ideas to one side, to abandon them, if we are proved wrong for whatever reason. And that is all okay.
It is absolutely fine to have strong ideas, to be full of passion, drive and commitment to the thing you are doing, if you combine it with the ability to let it all go if and when you need to. Ending something is never an easy thing to do but the quicker you can pick yourself up and move onto the next thing the happier your startup life will be.
Now let me tell you about this amazing New Thing...!