Getting somewhere again

I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere again. And I know that sentiment is irrational. I’ve been spending the past year or so building a super exciting tool for schools. Education! Education, the sector that I have felt the most passionate about from the start of my career as an entrepreneur. I was lucky enough to become part of a three-person founder team again, those two guys showing up out of nowhere, wanting to work with me, wanting to rent an office together, wanting to have Friday evening drinks together after a successful release of a new version of our app.

So to say that I’m finally getting somewhere again is a little disingenuous, even rude. But it’s truly what I feel. I felt like I was stagnating a bit. If I would have realistic career expectations, I probably wouldn’t even find that strange. I’ve had a better first few years as an entrepreneur than most. In little under 6 years, I’ve co-founded 4 companies, and I’ve been involved in some kind of way in about half a dozen more. So, the fact that I can’t constantly keep topping that, isn’t really strange. I’ve been super lucky. Also, if I had, I would’ve probably had a heart attack or mental breakdown by now. Or both.

What I realised only a few months ago, and what I should have realised a long time ago (I tend to give myself some slack due for still being only 21), is that it shouldn’t be about quantity, but about quality. More isn’t better, better is better.

I know what you’re saying at this point: “Ah, that’s so obvious. If you haven’t realised that before, you might as not be as much of a smart-ass as you make yourself out to be after all.”

Fair enough.

But that’s easy to say from a distance. When you’re in there, working day after day on lists of small and medium sized tasks, it often becomes hard to see the big picture. Especially with regards to personal development. I notice that I’ve been thinking of my career in terms of the companies I’ve been building. In that context, more makes sense: more customers, more contracts, more people on my team.

But that doesn’t actually help me get better personally. It doesn’t help develop my skills, or encourages to find my strengths. It just forces you to live in the moment and give it all you have.

And when you’re giving it all you have, you can’t learn to do better. You don’t have time to improve or explore. In the long term, that’s even detrimental: you start lagging behind with regards to new technologies and new ways of working, the box out of which you’re supposed to be thinking becomes smaller, and you get lazier.

This week was different. In a really, really good way.