The Importance Of Focus



It seems like my whole life has been one long lesson about the importance of focus.
When I was younger I learned how to play guitar quite well by practicing for hours every day. Someone asked me the other day how I learned to play so well. The truth is, I was absolutely obsessed. I'd spend as much time as I could reading books on guitar, learning music theory, playing along with guitar solos on cds or video tapes I had and seeking out other guitar players in town who I thought were rad. I just put my whole heart and soul and life into the guitar and now when I play, it feels like it's a part of me.

As I got older I got really good at skateboarding doing the same thing. I just skateboarded all day, every day and thought of nothing else. I think my parents thought it was a total waste of time but I learned a few things as a skateboarder that I believe strongly apply to being a startup founder. I learned the power of starting small. I would try a trick on a small rail on the ground and then when I was confident, I'd take it to a handrail down a big flight of stairs. The risk was huge if I didn't make it so I had to practice for a long time on little things before I was ready for the big ones. I also learned the importance of commitment. In skateboarding, if you aren't fully, 100% into a trick, you are going to get hurt. Especially when you are going down big stairs and rails. You have to make a decision, prepare ahead of time and then when the moment comes, you have to fight the fear and do it anyways. You commit and in that moment, you allow the decision you just made to guide you into the next moment. You can't think twice about it or second guess yourself or you are done.

Now, I am taking those lessons to my startup, Event Temple. In a lot of ways, building this startup has been like learning how to play guitar and learning how to skateboard all at once. Like guitar, it has required immense practice and preparation. I feel that all of my business knowledge is being utilized and tested, all at once, all the time. As well, I have had to learn technical things quite quickly such as Ruby on Rails, Javascript, Angular.js, Design and UX. It's a mix between technical skills and art to really get it right. I have learned things that I thought were impossible to learn when I first started and I have become good at them. I am very proud of that. The startup has also required commitment, like I learned in skateboarding and the ability to make a decision and stick with it, even in a moment of fear. It would be easy to abandon the startup and many times we could have but I made the decision to do this, so I am holding onto it. To say I am focussed would be an understatement actually. It's much more like an obsession.



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