Founders are Magical

On Frankaffe, Sushrut Munje shares what makes entrepreneurship magical, as persistent founders stay put on their challenging paths, building a glorious future.
courtesy: Jon Rawlinson

Imagine standing in the middle of a street at midnight, drenched to your bones and shivering, unable to even cry yourself to sleep, not knowing what the morning is going to bring, yet staying put.

You might face this level of stress once, which you would survive, thanks to the raw resilience that makes you so awesome. And your magic ability to get out of a tight spot. And then you’d spend your future building architecture that ensures you never ever go back to that dark memory again.

Getting down to business

The act of starting up has been glorified. Incubators and media publications who depend on the population’s fascination for these young companies and their founders lead these glorification campaigns with frothy mouths – comparing ‘corporate desk jobs’ with ‘cool startup bean bags’. But when you enter the fray and experience the grind – superficial ideas are thrown aside, we get down to work, nonsense is ignored.

Bean bags are not eternally comfortable and you fry your balls with laptops on your laps. Clothing style depends on situations, and proper grooming is pure manners. All jobs are 9 to 6 desk jobs because you work during work hours and you ought to work at a desk. Startups are nothing but poor companies working hard to be richer companies, and the only way to do that is to grow fast. Bigger companies are often cooler if the right people lead them.

What magic?

Creation offers a unique high. It is a feeling of exhilaration when you step out of your comfort zone and try out something new. Founders get so engrossed in leading their business lives, that the hard wiring transforms them into tough nuts, warriors with incredible persistence and since they BELIEVE in their luck, things somehow always end up working out for them! It is magical, and incredulous, how this magic works.

The magic of blinkers

An entrepreneur is an optimist, and is convinced that the tightrope they are on is essentially a highway. This perception is sold to employees, investors and customers. An entrepreneur continues to wear blinkers throughout the journey, for that allows the razor sharp focus to understand granular details of the tiny tightrope. For the bigger picture, an entrepreneur listens with keen ears as everyone else gives suggestions and critical feedback.

Blinkers are dangerous if the entrepreneur is not a good listener. However, it plays the crucial role of conviction, for the team BELIEVES that their worldview is possible, and that it exists. It is hard to argue with someone who is convinced at the core, and is doing everything in their power to keep it that way. This magic helps teams get support from others, and helps them grow.

The magic of slipping past

An entrepreneur is sharp af. Carrying the company on their broad backs, founders are on a climb up the mountain, without having a clear path cut out in front of them. These things hardly seem to matter, for the mad glint in their keen eyes looks out for the slightest of the firm earth to take a step on. They trust the rocks they climb, they trust the air they breathe, and yet, are able to let them go with ease.

Problems to many are riddles for founders, and solving them is perceived as a heady challenge. They look at apparent foggy despair with a song on their lips. Founders merely step aside if something rushes headlong into them, giving it a curious look. Wiser, and equally keen to continue – they keep going. The magic of slipping past and staying on the path helps them sail through tough days.

The magic of inspiring others

The knights of yore have inspired us with their tales of slayed dragons and conquered fortresses. The founders of today inspire us with their grand vision and an ability to be hands on. What binds the knights and founders together, is the art of storytelling. The narrative, the bright eyes and a wide encouraging smile stirs up the crowd, and helps them believe in something bigger than themselves.

The world thrives on how everyone perceives everything else. You make a sale when your wares are relevant to the buyer, and everything can be made to look relevant. Customers buy the tale of their well being, employees buy the tale of promised glory. The convinced founder BELIEVES in the story, and this sincerity fuels the infectious energy all around – making the story bigger than it ever has been. Once you have people working towards the greater, common good – you have made an impact.

Founders are magical beings

You are magical. You have founded something already – your own company, your own work of art, your own initiative if you are an employee, your own kid if you are a parent, your parents if you are a kid – and the innate belief & love for what you have created makes you do wonderful things.

Are you in love with the tasks at hand? It is essential for you to be certain, and to be happy, for the magic to work. Experiments performed while being at a distance seldom work, for the magic demands your pound of flesh, your time and sleepless nights. The magic demands you work day in and day out with a feverish desire, it asks you to sacrifice that party plan and another movie plan, it wants you to prioritize and choose what is more important.

Making it work

Clarity on all fronts is desirable, and the magic works when you build your own path. As Abraham Lincoln put it – “A compass, I learned when I was surveying, it’ll… it’ll point you True North from where you’re standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps and deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp… What’s the use of knowing True North?”

Fear is nothing but a state of mind – and it is tempting to doubt yourself the moment you taste your first failure. Magic strengthens itself every time you fall, for it wants you to understand that locating the North Star and choosing to walk in that direction is the easy bit.

The real challenge lies in staying true to the direction, as you fall down and fall down again. The real challenge lies in understanding how to keep going, while keeping your head firmly on your shoulders.

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