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There's one battle-worthy startup survival lesson I’ve learned the hard way: passion is king.
If you’ve founded and run a startup and your passion isn’t near god-like, then time to rethink your path.
Ruthlessly believing in yourself can be stronger than cold chrome steel. And at some point, that may be all you have to hold your life, family and sanity together.
Having made it through fires (and still wearing my scars) I wanted to share my “6 Bricks of Passion”.
While these have worked for me, I hope you too can put these to use in realizing results.
First let’s take a quick look back — like way back.
Ever heard of Bia? Probably not.
In Greek mythology, Bia personified raw energy and force. “Βία” in ancient Greek means “power, force, might”.
Her sister was Nike (yeah, another badass) and they hung out with Zeus and kicked butt with him in the Titan War — along with their mom. Bia was a bit harsh, but the whole family was tougher than nails.
Passion drove Bia. She actually didn’t say much. She just fought — and won.
Yeah… she was a legendary badass. And it was her passion that drove her raw energy to win.
The 6 Bricks
Every founder leading a startup needs raw energy to succeed.
So here are my 6 Bricks that I hope can help you achieve that success.
1. Articulate your passion.
First, name it. Identify your passion. And I mean with clarity and simplicity.
Sure, you may want to change the world and make a difference. Most of us do, and that’s actually awesome.
But how? With over 7 billion humans now surfacing this spinning ball in space you have to be pretty clear on what you want to do to make a difference.
Try this: narrow it down to less than 10 words.
Start by just scribbling down whatever is in your heart and mind. And work it over until you can narrow it down to 10 words or less.
In this case less is more.
2. Reality check it.
I live in blood by the philosophy “impossible just means no one has done it yet”.
But at the same time, some things can land a bit shy of reality.
Maybe you want to launch a steakhouse chain in Delhi, or open a casino in the Amazon rain forest. Those may not necessarily be the best ideas…¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Might want to look at that chain opening in New York or Germany, or that casino in Singapore (with 5% of all winnings to help save the rainforest!).
Just challenge yourself a bit here and make sure whatever you passionately are going after is at least reasonably achievable.
3. Check uncertainties at the door.
Once you check into Hotel Passion, you can’t check out any time you like, and you can’t ever leave (hat tip to Felder, Henley and Frye!).
If you’re serious about achieving your passion, then there will never be room for uncertainties that you’ll accomplish it.
Never. In fact, let’s define that word.
nev·er /ˈnevər/ adverb 1. at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever. "they had never been camping in their lives".
So realize, once you’ve made the decision that’s your passion and you’re going after it, you’re all in or not at all, and that’s your full-time mindset.
4. Starve for it.
Some of you may have seen that awesome motivational video from Eric Thomas years ago. You really have to watch it sometime.
The story of a man who sought wisdom from a guru to teach him how to be successful. He met his mentor at the beach, and after being made to go underwater, he was held down to the point of near drowning.
At which point he was pulled back up, gasping for air at the very last second before passing out.
After obvious shock, the mentor coldly told him that when he wants to succeed as bad as he wanted that air to breathe, only then would he have the power to achieve success.
Do you want to achieve your passion as bad as the air you breathe? Remember that when you have no capital, no money, no food on the table, and see no solutions.
You want it bad enough? You’ll solve it. Always.
5. Fight for it.
I made a mistake once I will live with for the rest of my life. A lesson learned I’ll never lose sight of.
I didn’t fight for my passion and agreed to take funding on conditions that changed my position and company vision.
While it’s true “things don’t always work out as planned”, it’s because you let it happen. No one is cause over your mind. Your decisions. Or your integrity.
You have to fight for what you believe in. For what you know is right. And your integrity will always be more important than money.
Value yourself more than success itself, and never agree to any decision in your startup that will come to haunt you later that detoured your vision.
You’ll find it better to walk away and start over, than to pervert or bastardize your vision for the sake of monetary success.
6. Believe in yourself
The biggest brick of all:
NEVER STOP BELIEVING IN YOURSELF.
From the moment you have your vision, realize one thing: it’s yours. And no one can ever take that away from you.
Create it. Build it. Grow it. Protect it. Fight for it.
And always believe in it. When the waters get so rough it may seem impossible to come out to the other side alive, realize you’re the one brick holding your entire house together.
Stay strong. Stay positive. And just never stop believing in yourself.
Because when you do succeed, and you see that rainbow after emerging from the storm, it’s worth every ounce of pain you’ve ever had to endure.
After all, it’s the game we’re after.
And we all want to be winners in the games we decide to play.
I hope these bricks help you build the house you want to win your game!