If youth has one edge over experience it's the power of naive enthusiasm. There's a certain energy for taking on the world that tends to drain away over time as experience is accrued. In exchange for the loss of that naive enthusiasm, those of us who are seasoned entrepreneurs gain skins that are thicker than steel, powerful enough to weather any storm or any situation.
But, imagine, what if you could combine the power of naive enthusiasm with grit as tough as nails? The impact on the bottom line is transformative.
In my early 20's I was fortunate enough to be in charge of a small company. We didn't implement any best practices because we didn't know any better. It was run on sheer enthusiasm, power of vision and daring to dream in an idyllic version of how things could be. Keeping the entire company focused on the pursuit of idealism had a surprising result.
Our efforts managed to change a multi-billion dollar industry that hadn't seen any significant change in decades. However, at the time, I didn't possess enough experience to know exactly how to capitalize on it and inevitably that momentum slipped through our fingers.
Experience exchanges enthusiasm for measured action
As time went on, I gained battle-hardened experience through recessions, booms and struggles. By the time I started my own company, I knew how to profit from vision, but something along the way had gotten lost. Boldness was replaced by measured risk assessment and experience-driven insight.
While thick skin made sure I wasn't going to ever go out of business, I found that we were slowly suffocating in mediocrity. The ability to operate from a bold manifesto that didn't negotiate and dared to dream in idealism had become lost. In order to thrive, I had to learn how to recapture the power of naive enthusiasm.
Experience gives you the ability to seamlessly overcome obstacles and challenges, but it also makes you act more conservatively or become skeptical on what can and cannot work. Conservatism comes because we simply don't want to experience painful learning curves all over again. The older we get, the less willing we are to expend the energy to go through those periods.
No one ever starts a company because they believe the world is "ok" as it is
Think back to when you started your company: there was something you saw that either frustrated or motivated you enough to say "this can be done better." All businesses begin life because there's a vision that declares the world can be better in some way. Experience has a way of making us lose sight of that power and instead focus more on the mechanics of the business.
What you must do is rekindle that purpose in order to capture its power. To do that you've got to be in the habit of constantly reminding yourself of what it was that made you start the company to begin with. Write out a bold manifesto for your vision of the future and go back to it every single day.
Create a manifesto and your company becomes a powerful narrative
When you operate your company from a bold manifesto, an interesting thing happens. People begin to get attracted to you in a way that's simply more endearing and long lasting than focusing on the mechanical benefits of what it is you do or the mundane daily details of operating.
Your hiring gets better because you attract like minded people. Your marketing gets better because you operate from a place of passion. You attract better and longer lasting repeat customers because they're bought into your vision and feel like they're just as much a part of it.
What happens is you and your business become a part of a narrative. A part of a story, rather than simply another business out there. People want to participate and witness the challenges, the victories and the fulfillment of the vision. Narrative is the most powerful form of long term connection. Make yours irresistible by tapping into the reason why you started the business to begin with.