Why do we want to start a business?

If we’re going to do anything, let alone start a business, something that’s so demanding and difficult, almost as hard as being in a relationship or having kids, we might want to start by asking ourselves: Why?

Why do we want to go through all that pain and agony? Why put in all that effort, why suffer through those long hours, sleepless nights, and countless hours of worry and struggle?

Okay, so I guess it doesn’t have to be quite that bad, but then again, it often seems to be.

So why?

There’s only ever two reasons we do things: Fear or love.

Is it because we fear that we’re not enough unless we’re successful? Rich? Famous? Rockstardom? Is it because we fear our own death or lack of worth so much that we need a lot of money to prop it up?

I remember reading in Ted Turner’s biography about his dad. His dad had set himself what he thought was a really high goal in life. But it wasn’t high enough. Why? Because he achieved it. And then he went ahead and killed himself.

It happens more than you’d think. There was an article in Inc. a while back about the exact same thing. The young rising star rising fast, making it - and then killing himself.

I got an email a while back from a guy, let’s call him Janneck, who was in his mid-20s and close to having his successful startup acquired by a big company for a lot of money. Woohoo! Success! But Janneck wrote me, because he felt completely dead and empty inside. Here’s the big prize he’d been chasing all of his life, and now that it was within reach, it was clear to him it was nothing. It was a mirage.

He thought it was going to give him the feeling he was after. But really, it’s just there to take your eyes away from the prize we’re really after.

What is that prize?

It’s love.

Pure and simple.

What we all want is love. Not love from other people. Not even love from ourselves.

We want to be love.

Now this is coming from a man who has probably the closedest heart of anyone you can think of. I’ve had to discover this the hard way - like we all do.

What we’re really seeking is to be that love that we are.

And when you are that love, you don’t actually need anything else.

And that means you can focus on creating and giving and sharing what you feel compelled to create and give and share.

And then people might want to start giving you money, either for that, or for something else that you do.

But it all starts from a place of love and security and generosity.

Look at the way DHH created Rails.

He created it out of love. Pure love. Love for himself, love for developers, love of programming, love of creating things out of thin air, love of beauty, and just plain old love.

And then he gave it away, freely. Not even with the GPL of “everything else must be free”, which is just another form of chains.

He gave it away under the MIT license, which basically allows others to do with it as they please.

If you’re creating your startup from lack - lack of worth or lack of security, for example - then you’re not going to get what you’re seeking.

Find that worth and that security inside of yourself first.

Then we can talk business.


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