A little while ago I read an interesting article that gave me a fresh perspective on the quest of finding a job or a mission that you love. The idea was simple: Since you will spend a vast majority of your time working on the process towards that mission or end goal that you set, it’s consequently more important that you love the process than the end result.
A week ago I participated in a start-up event here in Barcelona. The business accelerator Seedrocket has formed an initial phase startup incubator focusing on finding entrepreneurial talent rather than existing startup businesses. Just short of 300 people were tested in a dynamic group case, out of which 23 were selected for a super intense full weekend business planning and pitching contest. We formed teams of 3-4 people and selected an idea that had already been validated through existing in another country. It was an exciting event and I think all of us were in a constant flow throughout the weekend where the dimension of time just seemed to disappear. Sunday night was the time of the presentations, I pitched our idea as the group’s “CEO” and we even ended up winning! As we spent that weekend digging into the core functionality and operations of our idea, which enabled us to see all the work required to take that particular business idea to where we wanted to take it, that newfound reflection of loving the process, not the end result, came back to me. The idea we were working on was great, and I could see how I would love the end result of that business and the message and meaningfulness we could build around it, but I was questioning if I would really love the process of getting there. Meaning, the 1-2 years it would take to properly set up and scale the operations and build a reputation.
A bit more than half of the 23 were selected for the incubation program and the following week we did a group exercise in which we received 10 euros per team with the objective of making as much money as possible in 1,5 hours. We quickly assessed the situation and concluded that we were in a building with probably more than 50 startup offices and it was afternoon so people would want to have coffee and perhaps something sweet. We went and bought mini donuts with the plan of packaging them with a cup of coffee from the machine and sell it for 1 euro, which would give us around 50 cents in profit per sale. When we got back and started we realized that every team had their own coffee maker inside the room and nobody we asked wanted donuts, so that was quite the failure. However, this exercise reminded me of two things. Firstly, get to know your audience/customer before trying to sell or convince them of anything. Secondly, I realized that for me to not only have the guts but to also be confident and convincing while approaching strangers and trying to sell them something, whatever I’m selling has to be something that I truly believe in myself, something that I just can’t wait to share with the world. That way, approaching and telling strangers about whatever product or service I’m selling would feel more like doing them a favor than trying to sell them something for me to make a profit.
So I made two important conclusions this past week. I need to find something where I could see myself truly loving the process of getting there, and to find something that I believe in to the extent that I just can’t wait to tell people about it. Things I guess I kind of already knew, but needed to be reminded of.
All love and no fear,