One of my favorite songs is Waiting In Vain by Bob Marley. I cannot put my finger on why I like it so much but smooth rhythms coupled with intriguing lyrics make for a timeless classic.
I heard it today on the way into the office and it got me thinking about one of the strongest lines in the song, “tears in my eyes burn while I’m waiting for my turn.” Although one could see many different angles on Marley’s claim, I sense he is in pain from a past lover he hopes to reconnect with once again. And before you pass it off as just another heartbroken lyric I should point out another way to think about. He’s waiting around, frustrated, waiting on someone or something to happen and not living the life right in front of him. He’s so distraught he can’t do anything else.
I think entrepreneurs can identify with that, can’t we.
Deep down in the song I see some interesting lessons from Bob Marley. Entrepreneurs are very strong individuals but they are also very impatient animals. We want (and even believe) good things will happen to us quickly and with the least amount of effort. This is simply not true and fatal to the entrepreneur if not fully understood. Good things take time to develop.
We also tend to get very emotionally wrapped up in what we are doing and when things don’t go our way it can be devastating. So, the usual result is we pound away against the brick wall as we complain about our circumstances to anyone who will listen.
That’s no good for anyone.
It’s pretty easy to find yourself waiting in vain for your turn. Your startup or career might not be on the growth trajectory you had initially hoped for and now you find yourself frustrated with each passing day. You may find yourself – more or less – waiting for the big thing to happen to your rather than going out and actually making it happen.
“Why didn’t he invest in our company? Can’t he see we’ll be the next Facebook?!”
“No one wants to use our product… what am I doing wrong?”
Notice these are coming from a negative direction… Unfortunately, if you are asking questions in vain you are heading down the wrong path. These are simply the wrong questions and the wrong perspective to build your company with.
The questions you should be asking include:
“why were users attracted to this idea in the first place? What problem or issue is still there we need to solve? Is it maybe we just haven’t found the fully baked solution? How can we take a slightly different view of the problem we are trying to solve?”
As you can see, these questions lead to positive outcomes, breakthroughs or new discoveries and will help any entrepreneur or startup get better aligned.
Yes, I even felt myself in this mentality lately and have made a commitment to stop at the moment notice I am going that direction.
Don’t wait in vain. Just go out and make it happen.
This is my favorite Marley song…and I really do think it epitomizes what entrepreneurs go through. Definitely a cool analogy!