Jun 8, 2014

Why did your startup idea choose you?

Is your startup stuck in a rut? Maybe you’ve developed your first product, got friends and family on board, but now growth has stagnated. Maybe you’ve even begun losing the passion you had at the start of your venture.

When this happens, we tend to strengthen our grip to force the results that we want. One way to reboot is to step back and loosen your grip, like an artist.

Renaissance artist Michelangelo would look at a block of marble and see a statue inside. His role was to chip away at the stone to reveal the imprisoned statue inside, so that others could see it as well.

What is the statue hiding inside the block of marble that you are chipping away at?

Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) recalls how American poet Ruth Stone would feel and hear a poem “coming at her from over the landscape, like a thunderous train of air.” “She’d have to run like hell to the house” to write it down, but didn’t always catch it. Sometimes it would almost escape her, then she’d reach out and “catch the poem by the tail,” “perfect and intact, but backwards, from the last word to the first”.

What is the poem chasing towards you, looking for the writer who will give it life?

I feel like a parent to the businesses I have created. Many entrepreneurs I know share this feeling. Dreams of birth are almost always symbols of creating things, objects, ventures, businesses. In the same way that dreams of death are almost always about ending something and anticipating the rebirth of something new. Our subconscious clearly links birth with creating things. For men at least, it is perhaps the closest we can get to actually experiencing giving birth to a child.

Every one of us would find it bizarre to force our children to fit a strict mold that is our idea of who they should be. Every parent knows that their role is to help their child find their own authentic strengths and passions, and help them develop the courage to become who they want to become.

What does your startup want to be when it grows up? What are its dreams? How can you help it achieve its dreams and become the fullest potential of what it wants to be?

Today, possibly a third to a half of the world's population believe in reincarnation or consider it a good possibility. Most would understand the concept of choosing your parents before you reincarnate. Try explaining to your kids that they chose you as their parent. It's awesome. When they are grownups, it can get you off the hook for pretty much any of the parenting mistakes you made when they were little.

Your startup idea chose you as its parent, its steward, the artist that will bring it into the world, nurture it and help it grow. Why you?

Reconnecting with your passion might simply be a matter of asking yourself why your startup chose you. Let your startup unveil itself to you, like a statue inside a block of marble, or a poem flying across the land, ready to be touched and brought to life by you, the artist it has chosen from among countless other artists.

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