Growing up, I was always told that it is through consistent, regular effort that we make great things happen.
Experience has taught me that this isn’t always the case, moreso with a number of “great” things.
For example, the people I know who have undergone uber-dramatic (and lasting) weight loss did it by doing something drastic in the beginning – like a month of little to no carbs coupled with really small portions. For those of us who love eating, you know how difficult this is – a truly supreme effort. In a month, results became obvious and motivated my friends even more to see things through.
For these friends of mine, “slow and steady” efforts over years never yielded the results they wanted.
True progress only started after a relatively short period of intense, concentrated effort. Results are obtained. Maintenance, as everyone reports, is much easier afterwards.
There are examples all around.
I know certain people who have carved out successful careers out of working their tails off in landing ONE humongous account.
Law and medical students studying the lights out for one exam which will dictate the course of the rest of their lives.
Slow and steady doesn’t always apply because life itself isn’t slow and steady, right? Life is composed of seasons -peaks and valleys. Times of abundance. Times of scarcity.
Times of varying degrees of opportunity.
Opportunity doesn’t come from a slow and steady stream, doesn’t it? It just presents itself.
This is where intense bursts of effort trump steady distributed effort nearly every time. When the opportunity comes, you usually have to be able to exert a great, drastic effort to grab it. The great effort will usually allow you to grab a foothold – something that slow and steady effort might not have allowed you to do so. Then, in a lot of ways, it becomes just a bit easier.
This is very very true in startups – especially in the early stages.
Looking back when I was starting, this was so true in so many ways:
Recruiting the right partners – and casting a large enough net to do so – for STORM required me to spend almost all of my weeknights for around a month talking to people.
Landing that first client in as a B2B firm (so crucial to get a first reference) required a great, drastic effort on our part.
Finally leaping from corporate required a great burst of sacrifice, planning, and work. (and prayer)
Want to put up a startup? Your slow and steady approach might not cut it (and for some of us, I know it’s been frustrating)
Do something drastic in a short, concentrated burst of great, grand effort. Focus this intense effort on the fulcrum issues which are causing your startup to stall.
Need funding? Reach out to 100 strategic individuals. Give yourself 5 working days to do so.
Need a co-founder? Arrange 8-10 interviews a day for a full week.
Need an idea? Need to validate with the client? Need to build a prototype?
Instead of spreading things out, try bursts.
Oh, you’re doing this part-time? Just take your 5 “vacation” days off and do the exact opposite. Plan these 5 days out carefully – what you’re going to be doing for your startup in every hour.