What do you gravitate towards? That is, if you didn’t have to do anything, what would you naturally end up doing? What gives you energy rather than depletes your energy?
Answering this question is important if you want to lead a life that you enjoy where you also achieve some level of success. I think that leading an enjoyable life is an end in and of itself, and, even if you choose to trade off some joy for meaning, you need to be having at least some fun along the way to be successful at what you’re doing.
In the context of entrepreneurship, great entrepreneurs tend to gravitate towards strategy and people.
Gravitating towards strategy is a must for an entrepreneur. I haven’t come across a successful entrepreneur who doesn’t like thinking about the system that they’re operating in and the steps which they need to take in order to achieve their desired outcome within that system. Strategic thinking gives great entrepreneurs energy.
And people are the ingredients you need to execute your strategy. The extent to which you need to gravitate towards people to be a successful entrepreneur depends on what you’re doing. The greater the offline component of what you’re doing, the more you need to interact with people. As a result, the more you need to draw energy from these interactions to make progress. On-demand businesses with operational requirements are a great example.
If most of your business takes place online, as is the case for a search engine or a social network, you can afford to draw less energy from people. You still need to gravitate towards people, but most of these people can be within your organization rather than outside of it. You get a greater say in who you interact with in the former, so you can build an organization consisting of the types of people who give you energy. You don’t need to be energized by people in general.
This leads to the question of how much we can influence what we gravitate towards. Can an aspiring entrepreneur choose to draw energy from strategy and people?
I think that we can push ourselves at the edges for certain periods of time. However, most of it is beyond our control. Just like gravity.
Originally published at Thoughts of a VC.