Why Do You Do What You Do?
Everyday I am reminded not enough people have a strongly defensible and emotionally charged response to this most simple of questions. Randy Komisar pleads with us to do something we would do for the rest of our lives, not because we should do it or will do it for the rest of our lives, but because deferring life now to find happiness later in most cases doesn’t work.
It is a fundamentally important question because there have been people I’ve worked with, at Blank Label and other places, who work for not necessarily the wrong reasons, but for reasons they did not know, or did not feel strongly about. This becomes problematic, because once you get over the honeymoon period, a startup is a really tough grind. And unless you have a good answer to ‘why am I here, what am I doing this for, why am I doing what I’m doing’, you will hit one of the root causes of startup failure, quitting during a dip.
Meeting people and engaging with them is something I enjoy doing on a fairly regular basis. For the most part, I love talking to people who are passionate, about anything. I’m not a networking fiend who has to find someone directly relevant, although I’d lie to say I wouldn’t brown-nose a little if there were, but I just enjoy seeing the energy of someone who knows why they do what they do. This week is about meeting a lot of people as I watch a new class of Freshmen roll into Babson College, and especially interesting, six new Freshmen joining E-Tower.
As I meet each and individual one of them, I’m going to try and pass on what the good classes are, how to do well with minimal work, which events to go to, what organizations to join, but most importantly I’m going to challenge them to be able to regularly ask themselves why they are doing what it is they are doing. These students are far too talented and have way too many opportunites not be treating that question with all the seriousness of why did they choose to come to Babson College.