As of last week, I am now a married man.
My partner and I have been together for 7 years and were about as committed to each other as I could have imagined. Engaged, living together, bought a house together… we’d done the adulting things. Even still, I was blown away by how powerful it was to make a public commitment to her in front of friends and family.
For a long time, I was hesitant to fully commit to the relationship. Our relationship wasn’t perfect from the getgo, which – to my simple mind – meant there was no way I could fully commit. How could I commit to something not completely perfect?!
It took me two breakups (yes, I am a dense person) to understand how silly this approach was. Like many things in life, you don’t get the benefits of doing Thing unless you’re fully and completely doing it. You don’t get strong without committing to time in the gym, you don’t get healthy without eating well, and don’t you get the relationship you want by showing up halfway.
Advice I wish I’d internalized years ago ????.
Once I committed, things got hugely better. Fights about small things (me running late, for example) disappeared. Big questions got easier to navigate as a partnership, and I was amazed at the love and depth that my partner was able to bring into the relationship as soon as she felt like I was doing my part and showing up. So many of the reasons I’d doubted the relationship were gone: it turns out, they had hung around in large part because I hadn’t committed!
Startups are a lot like relationships in this way. 2016 Justin told people he was “working on” 3 different ideas. In practice, I was making zero progress and burned 6+ months with this horrible approach. it wasn’t until I committed to focusing solely Kettle & Fire for *at least* 90 days that I started to make progress. And as I made progress, as I committed to just one thing, I started to grok the size of the opportunity in the bone broth space. And as I better understood the opportunity, I became more and more convinced that this was an idea worth investing my time (and 100% of my life savings) in.
I give the same advice to friends who want to start a company. Startups are momentum plays: just choose the idea you’re most excited about and put a date on the calendar for 3-6 months. At that date, you’re allowed to reflect on your commitment level. Until then, you’re explicitly NOT allowed to spend ANY time questioning “should I be chasing X idea over there?”.
By putting blinders on for a period of time, you allow yourself to dig into a problem space and spend your early time actually *working* on The Thing vs intellectualizing “is this the exact, perfect, right, and obviously huge thing I should be working on?!?”. At least, that’s what I’ve struggled with working on something new.