Today’s Advice Sponsored by Microsoft
It Starts With Strong Commitments
The foundation for having a startup that supports our dream lifestyles is making really strong commitments to those lifestyle choices. For example, if we're parents and we want to make sure we never miss our kid's soccer game, we have to publicly make that commitment and stick to it.
Sometimes just announcing those commitments is a great way to get the ball rolling. When we launched Startups.com we had all just had our first kids, so we made a proclamation that we would never let the business get in the way of our families. 8 years later we've never broken that promise, largely because it was committed to very publicly, so we could all actively support it.
Take Baby Steps — Then Commit
Where we blow this up as Founders is when we try to take it too far too fast. No, we probably can't work from a beach in Fiji for 6 months out of the year (yet). But can we try working remotely for a solid week? A big part of shifting our workflow and culture is just making small, consistent steps toward adjusting the company to fit our goals.
When we wanted to create more flexibility at Startups.com, we started by just trying one Wednesday where we could work from home. It was easy to try and easy to reverse if it didn't work. Now, over 200 people work remotely and we're more efficient than ever. Those baby steps are what made it possible.
Bring Personal Goals Into Corporate Planning
All too often we separate our "startup goals" from our "personal goals" as if they’re not allowed to intermingle. But really, our startups often ARE our lives, so separating the goals and activities doesn't make any sense.
What's worked well for us at Startups.com is that we sync our personal goals first (commitment to our families, free time to pursue interests, how we want to help people) and then figure out how our business can support those goals. We make daily decisions based on that compass, and our lives reflect that.
Lifestyle Design Isn't a Myth
There's very little preventing us from designing our startups around our life goals. It starts with us being very clear about what we want to achieve and then taking clear, small steps toward those outcomes.
Life is too short. If we're going to create something beautiful in the world with our startup, there's no reason we can't build a beautiful lifestyle in the process.