This last Thursday I had the pleasure to interview a massively impressive entrepreneur: Tom Libelt. Tom mentioned on the podcast an idea that I have recently been fixated on; the idea of staying on course to finish projects. He refers to this as “staying on the bus.”
His point is that projects, or buses, have many stops along the way to their final destination. If we get off on any stop before that final point–we have robbed ourselves of our destiny. Getting off the bus too early means we lose all of our energy in motion. The inertia that takes all the work we’ve put in over the years that is to be transferred into a reward. Inertia is the flywheel of the business world, and its important we hold it until the final stop.
WHERE THE BUS IS HEADED
There are two key parts to a project:
- IT GETS STARTED: I have written extensively about the problems with start-up scare and over over research (known as analysis paralysis in the business world). What matters more than getting it right is getting it started. How do you know its right? Your soul will tell you. Sounds wishy-washy, but through over a couple hundred of calls with entrepreneurs I now know this is a reality. If you’re reading this, you too probably know exactly what I am talking about.
- IT HAS A DESTINATION: This has A LOT to do with vision. Getting started on something without knowing where it is going is a sure fire way to crash, or never get started in the first place. While I think SMART goals are too mainstream and therefore not cool; it is important that there is a system in place to figure out where you’re going. My new personal favorite way to set a destination is through Champagne Moments.
STAY ON THE DAMN BUS
It’s going to be hard to do. Even if you are overly passionate about this venture–it will be F***ING hard to follow through until the end. This is because those stops that Tom mentioned aren’t just places to pick up more passengers. Nope, instead it’s to pickup some 500 lb monster that is looking to eat you and the bus whole. A devouring beast built perfectly to destroy you and your dreams. The monsters the bus picks up generally have three forms:
- DEFEAT: This monster reminds you of how hard things are. How you can’t afford to keep going. Why you aren’t good enough to finish. That no one wants your vision to become reality. The worst part about this monster–is that there will be seemingly no way out. This monster has a MAJOR weakness: creativity. In fact, that’s why he is here; to see if you can grow to a new level.
- DISTRACTIONS: We’re not talking squirrels here. This is the major depression that comes with the death of a loved one. The rock bottom feel of a failing marriage. The loss of a limb. This is a dose of reality that hits so hard it can put a person into psychosis. Your dream has to be bigger than this monster. Resiliency is the key here: what makes Rocky the champ isn’t how hard his punch is, or how fast he can move his feet–it’s his ability to absorb blow after blow from opponents bigger than him. This is about getting back up, and getting back into the ring–no matter how bloody and bruised you are.
- BORING AND EASY: It’s hard for a newer entrepreneur to believe this; but there will come a time where what you are doing becomes less of a challenge and not very much fun. This isn’t the time to quit and find a new way to do things–this means you are doing things RIGHT. It will be tempting to get off the bus and find a faster, cooler-looking one. Don’t. Finish this ride. Remember the final destination and do not change course until you’ve arrived.
WHAT STOP YOU’RE ON
We can tell which stop, or how far into our venture we are pretty easily actually:
- Look around and see who is next to you. Like they say, we are the average of the 5 people closest to us. That’s also where our venture is at.
- Which monster attempts to get you off the bus:
- DEFEAT = Early in the venture
- DISTRACTIONS = Middle of the venture
- BORING AND EASY = Near the final destination
WHEN TO GET OFF THE BUS
So, we know not to get off the bus. But that can’t be true forever….. right?
The easy answer here is don’t get off the bus until you get to the final destination. High-five, another blog finished right?
Coincidentally, the best way to figure out when to start a new venture is called “The Bus Test.” Good news, this one doesn’t involve bus stops or monsters. Bad news: you have to imagine yourself getting hit by the bus. The two tests:
- THE TWO WEEK TEST: You get hit by the bus and are unable to work on your venture for two weeks. Is it able to keep going without you? If not, you are likely in the beginnings or middle of your venture, and DEFINITELY not ready to get off the bus.
- THE TWO MONTH TEST: You get hit by the bus so hard, that you can’t work on things for two months. If it is able to go on without you, you’re ready. At this point your idea is able to continue on with little to no intervention on your behalf.
If you’re somewhere in between the two week and two month test, you’re very close to being able to get off the bus. At this point, a few processes and key people are likely all you’re missing. Get those things working, and boom: you’re ready for some new inertia.