Every day, just a little more…
When doing a startup, it feels like you need to nail it. Every day. Every sales call, every pitch, every meeting, you feel like you need to be ON. It seems that each and every thing is critical, and there is no room for mistakes. This feeling (and associated stress) seems to always show up on the day of ‘the big pitch’.
I always advise founders about to do their demo day pitch to just relax. The pitch is important, but it is not going to make or break your company. The making or breaking of the company happens every day. You need to show up and put in the work. It is the collective volume of the work and the value it is creating that determines whether you were succeed or fail.
I am lucky enough to live on the water and I kayak every day. I am four months into my personal “paddle at least 2 miles a day” routine that I missed only for some extremely foul weather (40+ MPH winds with rain). This means I have paddled 250 miles in just the last couple of months. When I think about it that way, it seems like a lot. Every day, it seems like just a little.
It all adds up. If you keep building, it may start slow but all of a sudden it starts to work. Most things are like this, you start, and nothing seems to happen, and then all of a sudden, BOOM! It starts happening.
If you are out pitching for funding, and all the while working and building, it is the work you have put in that builds the thing.. the pitch, the funding, the ‘event’ feels like it is the critical thing, but it is just an event that is part of the process of every day, showing up and building, or paddling.
We look at the sudden events and don’t spend enough time looking at the daily work, and how it adds up to make the ‘event’ possible.
Today, I was not feeling that great. I have been fighting a cold and my thumb is hurting. I went out and did the milage. Today was just a paddle to get out on the water. My average speed today was over 5mph — 4 months ago to sustain that speed I would have to be pushing hard. I did it today without even realizing I was doing it. I was taking it easy and not breathing hard. I honestly was not paying attention and did not know until I checked my GPS at the end.
I am pushing for a sustained 6mph. To do that I would, right now, need to push HARD. Today I stepped back to see that I will get there.. by showing up every day, and doing the work. My stamina is getting better every day.
The day I cross the 6mph barrier will be all at once. It will happen because that is the way things work. I will keep working at it and then one day it will just happen because I have gotten stronger, and getting stronger is just showing up most of the time and putting in the effort.
Keep showing up.