One of the blessings of my career is that I get to know lots of founders and successful high-bandwidth individuals from around the world. I’ve been able to see the insides to hundreds, if not thousands, of companies and the inner lives of many of the leaders at each of them. I’ve seen people build successful companies and fail in their personal lives (their own words), people with a great family and personal lives waste millions of venture funding, people struggle with both work and personal relationships for years, and every combination in between.
One of the questions I get most frequently from founders as well as CEOs that are brought in after a company raises significant capital is “what is the one thing they can do to increase their chances of success?”.
I love this question. They’re normally asking from a “work” perspective but I believe your personal life is just as important – both to your overall life and your long-term success as a leader in the business world.
Here’s my response:
“The choice to unbalance your life when launching a company can not only increase your chances of building a successful company but also improve your personal life.
I’m a huge believer in the overall need for “down time”, intentional rest and prioritizing family. However, when launching a company or during those seasons of critical growth, there is a certain amount of effort that is needed to reach the next significant milestone.
It might take 200 phone calls and coffees to raise your next round of venture capital or 3,000 hours of coding to roll out the MVP (minimum viable product). You are the one that chooses if that milestone will be accomplished in 60 days or it will be spread out over the next nine months while you’re also trying to get other things accomplished, take those hikes and be home every night for dinner.
Certain things just take time but frequently it is the entrepreneur that is slowing things down based on their actions. By choosing to intentionally unbalance your life for a short period of time, you’ll lower the impact on your personal life and also reach the next milestone faster. Although, friends and family may not fully understand, so it’s important to surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs with good family lives that can give you advice during the process.”
Do you agree with my advice or have a different opinion? What advice would you give to a founder or the early team at a company to help them find success? Let me know.