My four-year-old son is wrapping up his first season on a soccer team. The sheer joy as a parent of watching him and his teammates play is hard to describe. Four-year-olds (at least mine and his teammates) are not yet strategic or tactical in their play, so we just get excited when our kids make contact with the ball or kick it in the right direction. This is very much the same mentality with early startups and young entrepreneurs. Just getting the ball moving in the right direction is cause for excitement and celebration. But at a certain point, you have to become more strategic and tactical in your efforts. This requires you to be comfortable amidst uncertainty and seemingly infinite distractions. For my son, this includes the constant cheering and yelling from the sidelines, a teammate’s untied shoelaces, or even his own shadow. Despite the fact that my son understands that it’s a good thing when his team scores a goal, his efforts on the field are completely disconnected from that objective. He’d much rather be on the sidelines building stick huts with his cousin.
The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are continuously learning, growing, and working toward a clear objective. If you’re spending all your energy hustling up and down the proverbial field with no end in mind, then you, too, will eventually be sidelined either by choice or by circumstance. However, I cannot guarantee you’ll have as much fun as my four-year-old.