Why do we lose money in the stock market? Pick the best performing funds over a 20 year history and don't look back. You'll do well. Why can't we lose weight? Just take in fewer calories than you need. You'll lose weight. It's simple but it's not easy. Why, because we feel we must be involved, be in control and be the hero of the story of our lives.
I think that "syndrome" is even more pronounced in business. We have been raised in the myths of inventors, entrepreneurs and innovators. Edison, Bell, Hewlett, Gates, Buffet, Jobs, Brin - you'd think they single handedly slew dragons and raised kingdoms all the while fighting off "barbarian hordes". We see the success and create the idealized story to that success. I think most of us, me included, want to live that kind of "fairy tale". We want our business story to be our story, and of course, we want to be the hero.
"We want our business story to be our story, and of course, we want to be the hero."
That's just ridiculous and it's taken me a couple of decades of experience to really start to "get it". I can finally fully and completely embrace "someone else's idea". It used to really bother me if it didn't come from me. I'm less concerned with a good idea and more concerned with a business that can achieve success. Success occurs when a business story is about many people who share a vision and fill the many pages in the many volumes of the story of a business success. Do this and your successes will occur more easily, more quickly, with far less stress and to a much larger extent than you can imagine.
Signs You're Being The Hero and What to Do About It
1 You go back and forth about equity share and ownership control in a business barely off the ground. I hear Golem in my head from lord of the rings, "precious, precious". Who cares! Your business is WORTH ZERO. Give up whatever it takes to pull the team together that will build value.
2 When people talk to you about potential size of your business you can't help but smile. GROW UP. Recognize that the emotions you are feeling are based on the pleasure centers of your brain. This is the same psychology that makes us happy to receive money, have sex, etc. It doesn't lead to rational thinking - quash that and move your thinking on. Assume you'll do a lot of work and get zero. There is no value so focus on creating some.
3 You keep going back and forth on business strategy. You are caught up in the romance of the decision. Oh, "where will our hero go? Slay the dragon, conquer the mountain?" Get back to basics. What strategy will be the least risk, the shortest learning curve and the greatest potential return? Create a matrix and jump on the path to the easiest success.
4 Founder and CEO. Founder? CEO? Of what? How many people are in your company. Everyone says "oh, it's just a title." Is it? Really. Would you dare print a business card with no title under your name? Secretly do you covet the "perception" of the title? Titles can have a business use - but usually only in a business development perspective. I am telling you now a high flying title is a barrier to the people around and particularly under you in a startup. Give up the ego. Throw out the founder/CEO and create a title that truly reflects how you want to benefit the company. Visionary, Cheerleader, Engineer, Enthusiast, etc.
End the drama, be inclusive in building a successful business with those around you. Make THE STORY a story of many hands building. Stop being the hero.