In my experience, I’ve started detecting a pattern: the more friction and resistance I have, the more forward progress I make. I’ve seen the same for organizations and startups as well.
Mine started as an undergrad at Georgia Tech. I realized around my senior year that each time I registered for 18-21 hours per semester, I made the best grades. My worst semesters were the ones when I took 1 or 2 classes and wasn’t even registered full time.
The same goes for my entrepreneurial experiences. The more friction against my desired direction, the farther and faster I seemed to go. When I felt like resistance was less, meaning, things were on cruise control and I felt good about where I was and didn’t feel the urge to go farther, faster, higher… that’s when both my momentum and my satisfaction waned.
This lesson has so many applications for startups and entrepreneurs:
1. If you have a 100% close rate, you either aren’t charging enough or aren’t putting enough deals in the top of the funnel.
2. If your innovation pipeline is empty with no “wishes and wants” for your product, you are on the path to irrelevance.
3. If your schedule is open (unintentionally), then you aren’t working your network to its maximum potential.
4. If you hire every person you interview, then you aren’t interviewing enough people.
5. If your workout doesn’t make you hurt (at least once in a while), you aren’t getting stronger.
6. If your run or swim isn’t longer than you thought you could do, then it wasn’t long enough. There’s no such thing as feeling great while in “maintenance mode” as a runner, I’m learning.
7. If balancing work and family time come easy, then you aren’t pushing hard enough forward on one side or another. I will ALWAYS want more family time and ALWAYS want more work time. I know I’m at the sweet spot and making progress when they are both maxed out. (Note: to be at this point, you must learn the art of not being stressed when you are at full throttle. Being intentional means knowing that your situation is what you want it to be, and you should be able to relax with a smile every evening knowing you accomplished what you intended to that day.)
Don’t shy away from friction. Go find it. It will make you better!