In the world of tech start-ups, there are a lot of smooth talkers. As I listen to founders pitching their ideas, I always look for the links. Fundamental to the quest are three linkages; includes ideas with propositions, dreams with plans, aspiration with action. The first linkage connects an idea to context. Dreams are what they are until they include steps, outcomes, and time. Fundamental to it all is the connection between aspiration and action. When there are steps which show s/he is progressing towards the dream and connecting the idea to paying customers, I see hope and potential.
When I listen and critique a series of founder pitches, there is a near automatic reflection trigger when turned inward on myself. The linkages, or lack of, tell a tale I find myself listening too, even when it is difficult. Along the way, the questions I challenged founders with are mixed in with old wisdom writings. “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?” (James 2.14).
Reminders which I shared with founders echoes for my consideration. They include the following.
Know your story in the context of the greater stories of your family, community, and beyond. If you are not sure, begin with asking about their memories. Open-ended questions and deep listening are great starts. Being patient with those who have come before you will yield insights you never imagined. As one’s understanding of the larger story begins to take shape, ask the question which one must always start with. “Where in their stories do I fit?”
As one understands where one is, the question is what comes next? What will I do in this moment which will take me towards my dream? Learning to grow is essential. Being willing to grow allows the essential to become real.
Each morning, this one is an example, is a checkpoint. Letting the lessons of yesterday inform this moment creates an open doorway to more.