We start with nothing and work towards an imagined destination: a new product or service that adds value to the world. This destination is a moving target, subject to the winds of change that are markets, trends, customers, and competitors. We narrow the distance by building towards our goal while simultaneously pulling our goal towards us by validating markets, talking to customers, and differentiating from competitors.
In the best case, we’ll catch sight of our destination without much delay. But it likely won’t look as we had originally imagined it. And when we reach it, we’ll discover that it’s merely a stepping stone. One leg of our journey completes, only to reveal more possibilities ahead; our journey continues.
I love this potentially infinite journey. But what gets me up in the morning isn’t so much the journey itself, but the destination, the prospect of accomplishing something that matters and ultimately bringing my imagination to life. En route, while we’re building, I often feel impatient, restless, and dissatisfied, punctuated with alternating feelings of glory and despair, depending on the day.
I know I’m not alone.
As entrepreneurs, we’re never entirely happy with our journey. There are always more destinations in sight. On some level, opposite to conventional wisdom, the life of an entrepreneur isn’t about the journey; it’s about the destinations we pursue along the way. I believe this is intrinsic to entrepreneurship. Where we’re at is never good enough. Our perpetual dissatisfaction with the present is what motivates us to keep improving it.
There are other journeys we can enjoy: family, friends, and sipping a cold beverage on a summer afternoon. Life, in its totality, probably is about the journey. But at work, my sights are set on the next destination and those that follow, knowing this is a journey that won’t end.
Entrepreneur or otherwise, if you’re a fellow seeker of destinations, agitator of the status quo, and perpetuator of improvement, I raise my glass to you and your infinite journey.