Knowing that it takes ten years to reach the expert level can be liberating. It makes the size of the effort crystal clear. For example:
- There can be no doubt that you have to love doing the thing you want to become an expert in. 10 years of forcing yourself to do something just won’t happen. You won’t make it.
- There can be no doubt that it will require hard work. Ten years of it.
- There can be no doubt that you will make mistakes. Over a period of ten years, of course there will be many moments when you will fail.
Launching a startup doesn’t have to take that long. Still, many entrepreneurs are too focused on the next milestone. They don’t see the full distance.
“If we can only get this release out the door, we’re safe.”
“If we can only close this round of funding, we’re home.”
“If we can only add this missing feature, we’re OK.”
This makes failures much harder to cope with. “We missed the deadline – we’re DOOMED!” No, you’re not – or, you don’t have to be. Because just like the path to expert-hood is long and filled with obstacles, the road to startup success is paved with failures and misfortunes – and that’s how it’s supposed to be because that is how you learn.
It also makes it much more likely that you burn up all your energy, money, stamina, mojo, whatever it is that you run on, before reaching take-off speed.
Don’t believe me? Ask the experts! Read the interviews in Founders at Work. What are they all saying? The key ingredient in a successful startup is persistence!
So, before you start or whenever you’re in doubt, just take a deep breath and repeat these six words:
It’s going to take five years.
Ah. Feel better already, doesn’t it?
(Thanks for reading. Now follow me on Twitter.)