Why Entrepreneurs Need to Work Smarter, Not Harder
“Persistence without insight will lead to the same outcome.” —The Book of Boba Fett
Without persistence (resilience, determination, grit)…you won’t get far as an entrepreneur.
But this nugget of Star Wars wisdom points out that the value of persistence is as a means to an end.
Persistence is not a strategy.
Persistence should be a tactic that gets you results.
If you persist without acknowledging the impact (or lack thereof) of your efforts, you’re prioritizing hard work over tangible results.
A strong work ethic is something to be proud of, but taken to the extreme, the effect becomes almost comical. To quote another brilliant mind: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Separating failing from failure
I’ve made this mistake many times during my career. It’s easy to see those missteps with the benefit of hindsight. It’s harder to identify them while they’re happening.
Many years ago, I was running a business that was essentially failing. All around me, advisors were telling me to give up. At least, that’s what my brain heard.
I equated “giving up” with more than the business going under.
I equated it with being a failure myself.
So I didn’t listen. I kept working harder. I risked the failing company as well as a second company that was healthy. And I took 10 years off my business career in the process.
Looking back, my advisors were encouraging me to act with insight. I was over-invested emotionally and not making the most rational decisions. And they knew it.
The reason? Something in my DNA; something in my upbringing. But also—inertia.
In some ways, it’s easier to persist, even if that means grinding it out, day after day, because it’s what you know how to do.
It’s one thing to talk about being agile—to quickly change course and be responsive (not reactive) when things aren’t working. It’s much harder to live it.
To run or not to run
A few weeks ago, I found myself in conversation with another runner. I was trying to convince her to enter the Boston Marathon. She knew her times would easily qualify her, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to run the race.
Her statement to me was so profound, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.
“I know I can do it. But I’m not sure yet why I would.”
If you’re anything like me, this concept is completely foreign to you. I never think that way. I take for granted that if I can do something, I should. 100% of the time.
You see the value though, don’t you? Of demanding justification for how you spend your time and energy? The power in choosing not to endlessly (and mindlessly) persist?
Not because you can’t. Because you don’t need to.
P.S. To translate all of this into practical business-speak: you need to work smarter, not harder. You do that by spending less time in the weeds and more time on strategy. We can give you the framework and the tools to make that happen. Contact us to see how our consulting team can help.