I’m a hypersensitive. So I probably shouldn’t be in VC — which is basically telling people no for a living! It can make me feel terrible for days and want to either a) try and rescue them or b) curl up in a ball. So I’ve learned some new tricks.
My coping strategy is to care less to care more.
It’s a solid commercial strategy too. So if you’re a founder in early stage startup spinning 50 plates and find yourself ruminating too much I’d urge you to quickly find your version. It took me waaaay too long.
For me it works like this:
Vision — Keep your eye on your vision — Personal and commercial (they often intertwine, and should). If you don’t have one define one — your stretchy future goal. This is your guiding light, normally accompanied by a set of values.
Kin — Define who would share that vision. What do these people do, look, smell and sound like? Surround yourself with them — team, partners, investors, clients etc. They’ll wax and wane and that’s cool but your definitions won’t. Getting the right people on the rocket ship is paramount.
Unity — Work with those who ‘get it’. Now this is the tough bit and to me can still sometimes feel brutal. Only work with those who are on your ship. Everyone else isn’t even in steerage, they’re on someone else’s ship. Leave them alone (I work with less than 1% of those I meet).
Screw It — The ‘screw it just do it’ moniker is a little hackneyed but it’s a good one to remember. When caught up in *anything. Simply create forward motion. Get on a road. Do it. Free the energy and just do something. It will all come together anyway in line with your vision. Regardless of the bumps.
Focus — I am not advocating the death of doing good or helping others! You can comfortably apply the 80/20 rule. This is all purely within the context of creating powerful activity for your (early stage) business. You just can’t do or be everything for everyone and that’s truly ok. Myopic focus rules here, or you won’t get there.
If you want commercial success, find a way to care less to care more.
Ethically, morally and with love.