This week I’d like to talk about some of the very core buidling blocks that are required to make anyone succeed in building a company.
The two most important qualities for me are passion and grit.
Passion is defined as “a very strong feeling of liking something; a hobby, an activity, etc. that you like very much” by the Oxford Learner’s dictionary.
To me it’s the absolute core of starting anything. If you don’t feel intrigued, challenged, if you don’t buy into the vision and the impact, then there’s no way you can put 100% of yourself into it, and persevere through the tough times.
I’ve met many people who started a company because it’s so cool, it’s a “quick” 😅 way to become wealthy, and wanting all the fame and glory of becoming the next Steve Jobs. Looking at where they are after a few years, pretty much none of them achieved their goal. Not only because the odds are so low that you’d hit that kind of a success, but also because their motivation was completely wrong.
Personally, I’ve also bumped into projects that sounded interesting and fun, but the thought of spending the next 5-10 years on it didn’t excite me, and that was a clear sign that while it may be very cool, innovative and beneficial for some target group, it just doesn’t lie within my passion.
On the flip side, when I started writing the first pieces of code for Airtame back in early 2010, it was pure passion driving that project. I didn’t really set off to think that it would ever be commercialized, let alone build a 10 year old company around it.
It was purely some SW, a “toy project”, that was solving my immediate need, with some cool, up and coming technology.
That passion for building something great was only amplified when I met my co-founders, and when we found a broader audience for it. Seeing happy customers and real life users being impacted positively by your product, and in Airtame’s case also future generations, is something really magical that gives the whole journey a new meaning.
So the question is. Should you be passionate about the vision? The product? The team? The challenge?
Ok, so passion is important. But it’s only one side of the story. The other is grit or perseverance.
Grit is defined as “the courage and strength of mind that makes it possible for somebody to continue doing something difficult or unpleasant” by the Oxford Learner’s dictionary.
Grit is what separates the dreamers from the doers. It’s the unwavering determination to keep going, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges and setbacks. Passion might get you started, but it’s grit that will keep you going when the going gets tough.
Building a company is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, often filled with hurdles, roadblocks, and moments of self-doubt. It’s easy to be enthusiastic when everything is going smoothly, but the true test of your commitment comes when you encounter adversity. And trust me, you will encounter adversity. A lot.
Grit means being able to weather the storms, adapt to changing circumstances, and stay focused on your goals, even when the odds are stacked against you. It’s about pushing through late nights, countless rejections, and the constant fear of failure. It’s the ability to pick yourself up after a setback, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward.
I’ve seen several startups and entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas and boundless passion fizzle out because they lacked grit. They couldn’t handle the pressure, the long hours, the uncertainty, and the inevitable disappointments that come with the entrepreneurial journey. They gave up when the going got tough, and their dreams remained just that—dreams.
On the other hand, those who possess grit are the ones who eventually achieve success. They are the ones who persist, adapt, and find solutions to the most challenging problems. They are the ones who turn setbacks into opportunities and failures into valuable lessons.
Passion and grit are not mutually exclusive; they often go hand in hand. When you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it becomes easier to summon the grit needed to overcome obstacles. Passion fuels your determination, and grit ensures you keep moving forward, no matter how steep the climb.
In conclusion, if you aspire to build a successful company, remember that passion and grit are your indispensable companions on this journey. Passion will light the initial spark, but it’s grit that will keep the fire burning. So, find something you’re truly passionate about, something that excites you, challenges you, and makes you want to get out of bed every morning. And then, arm yourself with grit—the unyielding resolve to pursue your vision relentlessly, no matter what lies ahead.
Stay tuned for more insights on entrepreneurship, and as always, I appreciate your continued support and engagement. ✌️