Start-up founders follow their own code of laws. Here are nine of their commandments.
Every religion has a canon--a code of laws adopted by its followers. Entrepreneurs are an irreverent group who follow their own code. Here are nine of their commandments.
1. I will not be ashamed of failure.
I will remember that failure is part of the human experience and that I cannot have great success without tasting some failure. I will choose to see failure as a step in the refining process--an adaptation of sorts. I will not be a dinosaur and die. I will fail and evolve.
2. I will not make excuses when I don’t deliver.
I know that I will make terrible decisions and I will be inefficient. I will admit these inadequacies and move on. I will remember that taking personal responsibility is an indispensable part of building a business. I will not make excuses; I will make reality.
3. I will not wait to launch until I have a perfect product. That’ll be too late.
Perfectionism is the kiss of death. I will launch early and launch often because a perfect product doesn’t exist.
4. I will surround myself with people who challenge me.
If I’m the smartest person in the room, I will walk out. If I’m not sufficiently challenged every day, then I’m not working with the right people. If I’m not experiencing intellectual, emotional, or technical gymnastics most days, then I will reconsider my tribe.
5. I will jump now, land later.
Starting anything--including a business--involves risk. I will jump and worry about the landing only when it’s pragmatically necessary. I will learn to be comfortable--even thrive--without a roadmap.
6. I will build a cult of believers.
Passion is my most valuable asset. I will be on fire and persuade others to get on my rocket ship. I will not forget that convincing others to believe in my mission, follow me, and work their asses off on my behalf is the most important part of my job. If I lose my passion, I will get off the ship.
7. I will be kind to my spouse and children even when my day sucks.
Despite my slow progress or eroding team, my family will be the remaining constant through all of the craziness. I will treat the people I love like a Stradivarius violin. I won’t just aim for life balance; I will demand it.
8. I will see money as a result of my effort, not of my worth.
The minute I start aligning my purpose to my net income, instead of vice-versa, I simply won’t be as effective. I will not let money be my personal metric. My values, impact on others, and character will be.
9. I will only say crazy things to other crazy people.
I will admit that I’m a little crazy because, unlike most people, I see a path to the impossible. However, I will only speak these crazy thoughts to 1) people that are energized by them, or 2) people that can help me execute them. I will not speak them to people that scare easily just for the fun of it.
Dr. SHELLEY PREVOST is a mentor and early stage investor at Lamp Post Group--where she hacks into the psychological and emotional side of starting and running a business. She is also a co-founding partner of the JumpFund, an angel fund investing in female-led startups with high growth potential. Shelley also speaks and consults with companies on finding purpose, humanizing work, and growing leaders from the inside out. She blogs about her work at the Glad Lab. @shelleyprevost