Innovation Blog

Morning Jo: Is Drumming like a Startup?


I was half mad at him for lying and wanting to quit, and half proud of him for coming clean, fessing up, and expressing his feelings. The thing is that he is really talented at the drums and he has a natural ability to hear music and play rock beats. Where he struggles is with bookwork, and especially jazz bookwork. Its really hard! He can rock out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers all day long, but put a jazz rudiment in front of him, and hes reduced to a puddle of tears!

Kind of reminds me of the startup journey. I think every entrepreneur gets to the point in their business where they want to quit just give up because its so hard! Sure, there are parts that are fun and inspiring, but there are always parts of a startup that are pure drudgery and really hard to motivate for. No one is good at everything, so we tend to gravitate to the things that make us feel accomplished and successful, not the things that make us feel inadequate and stupid. So, how do you muster up the motivation to deal with the hard stuff? Heres what I told my son, and maybe it will help an entrepreneur or two as well:

Fess up its just as important to know your weaknesses as it is to know your strengths. Figure out your weaknesses early and admit to them. Maybe even make a list of the things you hate doing or get frustrated doing, and be sure to acknowledge that its normal to have limitations.

Ask for Help everyone needs a helping hand, so dont go it alone. Find mentors or advisors who are good at the things you are not so good at, and get help with those specific things. You have to ask for help to get it.

Set SMART goals be specific about what you need. Goals dont always have to be about accomplishments or results you want to achieve. Sometimes you need to be SMART Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-framed about how to get what you need.

I told my son that he can quit the drums if he wants to, but not today. He has stick with it until the end of the year and try these three tactics to get through the jazz stuff. If he still wants to quit on December 31st, its his choice. He has his next lesson today, and he has to tell his teacher the truth about whats been going on. He has to ask his teacher for help, and he has to tell his teacher exactly what he needs in terms of learning the rudiments. Fingers crossed it works. It felt like a successful parenting moment, but Ill be devastated if he quits at the end of the year!

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