What a Founder Needs

What a Founder Needs

What does a founder NEED to do to succeed?

Do you ever wonder if late nights, low bank accounts and constant stress is all worthwhile? If you’ve ever questioned your very existence, or whether the objective you’re pursuing is worth it, you must return to the basics…

Study the fundamentals.

Here on the island of Menorca, we gathered together on a private beach after a 1-kilometer paddle board excursion. The morning started with an on-the-beach lesson in stand-up paddling; of course, the metaphor of balancing ourselves as we self-propelled ourselves across the ocean was perfect for this audience.

Along the way, startup CEOs, founders, and team members talked about the feeling of “walking on water,” and regaining their balance after the subtle shifts of the Mediterranean under their feet.

Above our heads, the blue of the sky, through the depths below, yet even more hues of blue.

My heart was beating, not just from the physical effort of propelling myself forward, I was the next speaker for this group called Menorca Millennials – www.MenorcaMillennials.com.

To slow them down!

It’s hard to imagine the life of an entrepreneur.

To utter that word, as in “I’m an entrepreneur,” is to acknowledge oneself as a risk-taker.

Also, you are…

A maverick. (A lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates: a modern-dance maverick. Synonyms: nonconformist, individualist; free thinker; a loner, lone wolf.)

An explorer. (A person who investigates unknown regions.)

A scientist. (An expert in science, especially one of the physical or natural sciences.)

At the start of the Menorca Millennials Startup Decelerator program, I set the stage by introducing a theoretical framework that these leaders could test, and bring back to their growing companies if they want. To get the best – and most – from ourselves, and do the best for those we serve and lead – it helps to start with a framework. As you continue reading this piece, ask yourself:

Is this true?

Of the portion that IS true…take it, use it, change it and refine it. It’s there for you and I want you to get the most from it.

Anything that contradicts your worldview or gets in your way, I invite you to skip it, ignore it and imagine you never saw it.

Three Human Needs

  1. To be: to exist or live.
  2. To belong: to be in the relation of a member, adherent, inhabitant, etc.
  3. To believe: to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

I provide words and the dictionary definitions (always) as a way to give you something to hold on to. Maybe you’ll see it differently, or you’ll change the order of things; will you be willing to test the ideas?

To get the most from this exercise, I’ll ask you to answer these three questions as a way to step toward a deeper understanding of these needs:

1. What can we trust about how AND why you do what you do?

Are you always on time? Do you do what promised? Is it your responsibility to…?

2. Who do you do “it” for?

Who are the people you serve, and why have you chosen them? More than what you give to them, how are you a better version of yourself because they are in your life?

3. How does “it” matter?

Every startup selected to be here in Spain for the Menorca Millennials “decelerator” has committed in part or in whole to support at lease of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. (There are 17 such goals, here.)

If you were to make good on the promise of your mission, and if you were to work sustainably, as the very best version of yourself, how will the world be a better place?

What do you believe in?

Whether you’re a Startup Founder, a CEO of a Fortune company, or the executive director of a non-profit organization, you must adhere to these three basic human needs…what I call, “The Fundamentals.”

Look in the mirror and see the reflection of yourself there, and ask yourself these questions. The fact that you’re this far along in the “Process” demands you do this little bit extra of work. It’s the bit at the end that makes the journey that much more worth it.

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