Last week I sent out this Facebook status update:
This realization came about while I watched my son Dominick on a swing ride at Busch Gardens. He was happier in that moment, with that simple thrill, than I may have been in quite sometime. The reality is that there were swings when I was a kid, and they have not changed. The reason I cannot enjoy the swings the same way is because I have changed.
Now granted our metamorphosis from innocence to experience is shaped largely by how the world interacts with us, and us with it, and such a transition is inevitable.
However, most of us allow ourselves to be completely changed.
The concept has especially hit home in terms of how I interact with the startups and businesses I am involved with. A relationship with a business is a lot like a marriage. It has its courting period, where you flirt with an idea, then a honeymoon stage where you fully commit to the idea, and the world is your oyster, and finally the relationship, like all relationships, takes work to make it last. In this last phase, it is easy to lose site of the sheer joy you had for your concept in the beginning phases. As bills roll in, and cash rolls out the “real world” inevitably takes its toll on your once innocent idea.
However, like all things, the original concept most of the time is not to blame. It remains as beautiful as it once was, it is just marred by perception tainted by experience.
Regaining this innocence is key to increasing your focus, longevity, and chances of survival. True passion can keep anything alive, and a startup without that key ingredient is sure to be doomed. Revisit items like old emails, your original business plans, and other momentos from those early days. Laugh at how ambitious you were on some points, and how right you were on others. Get swept away in the passion of you once felt for what you have built, and realize the work is worth it.
Regain the innocence of the startup. Regain the feeling you had when you saw a swing when you were a kid. Let your work and life be filled with passion, and the result will be tangible in your product.