Parenting and starting a company have a ton of similarities. The most glaring one to me? They are both best approached with an attitude of “progress not perfection.” That newborn WILL grow into an adolescent. Your startup WILL turn into something. Whether that kid becomes a Rhodes Scholar or a drug addict are somewhat in your control and somewhat not in your control. Whether your company fails in 12 months or joins the Fortune 500 is not entirely up to just you.
But that can’t paralyze you as a parent. The only thing you can do is wake up every day and make the next best decision. You can’t let the overwhelming pressure of the responsibility for another human being crush you. You do the best you can. You guess constantly. You rely on your gut and you stay up late. Your friends that aren’t parents think you’re crazy or annoying (or both). They think you’re lame for missing that concert. But humans are survivors and we persevere. We find solace and support in others going through the same thing. And in the end, we overcome.
Your startup is not dissimilar. Your friends think you’re insane for quitting a steady job just to chase some stupid dream. You have no clue what you’re doing - so you guess a lot. You find others who have done similar things before and you beg them for help. You don’t sleep much. You stress out constantly. You run out of money. And at the end of the day, the success of your startup is likely more reliant on timing and external market forces than on how hard you actually work.
But that can’t stop you from working hard. When you care about something, when you know in your soul that something must be done, you don’t actually have a choice. You can ignore the call for a time. But eventually, you can’t outrun your own heart. Destiny doesn’t need an aeroplane to chase you anywhere.
At the end of life, we are only a collection of our experiences. And we are an inherently creative species. We are meant not to merely consume and exist, but to create and explore. Nothing makes you feel more alive than creating.
*This post was written by Jack Studer for the Torch community of parents.