You are not Superman!

For those that aren’t completely familiar, Superman is a fictional character. He’s a humanoid alien that has amazing abilities and powers while he isn’t near pieces of his home planet (that was destroyed). I mention this because Superman was indeed just that, super. He didn’t need a team. There wasn’t a need for someone to be the brains, or the muscle. He didn’t need any crafty inventions. He didn’t need anyone but himself to get the job done. *** sure he had friends that helped some of the time, and granted he was with the justus league.. but, he didn’t need to join them.***

Side note.. I never really cared for Superman. Even as a kid, one of the main things that bothered me was at how he seemed to always be in peril. HE’S SUPERMAN! How can people like Batman who have no abilities: no super speed, no powerful hearing or flight always seem to dodge bullets or other obstacles hurled their way — but not Superman. He was always getting hit by bullets, missiles, and always getting injured. It really irritated me.. but I digress.

I am about to tell you some bad news. You my friend, are not superman! Surprising as it may seem, you’re just human. Maybe a super-awesome human, but a human nonetheless. Us humans have limitations, and we can only do so much by ourselves.

One of the toughest lessons I had to learn while working on a few 1-man-team startups of my own, is that although you could theoretically do it alone you shouldn’t. In theory, lets say you have all the bad ass coding skills, design skills, and lets throw in an MBA too — why not. You would be a bonafide superhero, possibly even better than superman (when it comes to startups) yet it is practically impossible to do everything yourself, so stop trying.

In theory it should work — yet in practice it proves the theory wrong

This took forever to drill into myself. Well, sort-of. Although I was constantly looking for a partner &/or team, I really wasn’t looking hard enough. My thought was simple, “why should I?” I’m a proven designer, I know enough to code projects I want to do, and after years of selling other companies products successfully, I know how to market. So I would put a half-ass effort in looking for a team, but the real lesson is that you can’t force entrepreneurism into people that don’t already have the bug and if that’s what you find yourself doing you should stop. You want people on your team which is at a minimum, half energized as you are.

Going back to you not being superman. Here’s the deal, there isn’t enough time in a day. No matter how much of a machine you are, there simply isn’t enough time, and time is your main enemy as an entrepreneur. You’ll blink and then it’s 3 months later. You might be a great salesman and developer, but you’ll have to pick one to focus on to genuinely be efficient. You should be establishing relationships, networking and doing regular biz-dev, however if you’re busy staying up all day and night actually building the product, who’s to know? You don’t want to haphazardly do anything. Everything and anything you do should have as close to 100% of your attention as possible.

If an entrepreneur develops a product in the forrest and no one knows about it, does it make a sound

There are a plethora of smarter people that also agree that at an absolute minimum, there should be two-three of you. However you decide to break up the roles and responsibilities, you all will should always cover more ground than one person.

This is really for the workaholics out there. Even as many of you read this, your probably scoffing and saying to yourself “not me.. I can and will do it by myself!” Maybe so, and if you do I will congratulate you and shake my head in disappointment at the same time. As mentioned before you need to have vision. If you could see yourself making it on your own, imagine what you could have done if there were two, three or more of you. The idea is to learn to think and do things smarter, not harder.

That concept of workeing smarter challenges the workaholics (like myself — I’m not innocent in this either). You/we really need to take a break every now and then. Coming from me this point is almost void, however I will say that I have a very strict system and if you know you have strong work ethic you should too. When you align yourself with a great person or team, you don’t feel as guilty when you actually get some sleep. You won’t need to think there’s not enough progress going into an idea when you take a day off and hang out with friends and family. I get it.

I used to work day and night, going weeks without any real recreation and breaks. Then I met my beautiful and intelligent wife. I immediately realized that I couldn’t keep the same insane work schedule and pursue her at the same time so I had to become much more wiser in the use of my time. In half the time, I would learn to accomplish the same thing. There’s something said about having a finish-line. People tend to push harder when there is a clear defined goal rather than just aimlessly doing something.

Keep this in mind, and really take note of what your doing with all those hours your ‘working’. People tend to get caught up in glorifying how little sleep they got, and how many hours they’ve been working but you don’t have to do that. You can have it all. It is actually quite possible to still have a strong work ethic, or be a workaholic, and still have some down time.

A true testament to maturity and great leadership is a simple fact of understanding that you don’t have to have absolute control over everything and every situation and every little minute detail. Trying to do everything yourself is the exact opposite of this philosophy. If you believe that you have to be in control of every detail in your idea, concept or business you are actually setting yourself up for failure. If you were to dissect many of the great minds of powerful and successful leaders you would see that they thoroughly understood this. They will surround themselves with highly intelligent people — people more knowledgable in specific fields and expertise than themselves. It’s ok to have help, it doesn’t show weakness on yourself, instead it shows a true attestation of knowledge and understanding. Surrounding yourself with intelligent people doesn’t guarantee success, but it will damn sure increase your chances of beating the odds.

As for myself, I want to thank the TripLingo team. We’re an amazing group of individuals ( @onwardly@w0lver, @prpatel@iamjamesmartin@keKatie ); however, as a team we are a serious force to be reckoned with!

So….  you may not be Superman, but who really wants to be that pompous douchebag?

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