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The Eureka Moment

Archimedes’ story is an apt metaphor for the emotional journey of most first-time entrepreneurs like me.


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When he stepped into his evening bath more than 2,200 years ago, Archimedes had grown tired of searching, racking his mind for a foolproof way to measure the true volume of the king’s crown. As he absent-mindedly lowered his body and watched the water level rise, something clicked: 

Any object lowered into water will displace an amount equal to its volume.

As the story goes, this thoroughly rational man leaped out of his bath and into the streets of ancient Syracuse naked and ecstatic, shouting, “Eureka!” (“I have found it!”).

Archimedes’s story is an apt metaphor for the emotional journey of most first-time entrepreneurs like me. Before the eureka moments, we puzzle over possibilities, question whether to move forward, wondering how to pull it off and hope for the right break. We have yet to step into the bath.

Then comes a moment of clarity, a defining event. The future founder is seized by a brilliant startup idea. The puzzle pieces come together with perfect clarity. Things will never look the same again…..

THE POINT OF NO RETURN

Like Archimedes leaping from his bath, there is a point in every startup journey when hesitancy melts away and there’s no turning back.

Few things in life are as packed with emotion as hurtling down the startup path just beyond the point of no return. Even the most content entrepreneur feels like he or she has a tiny Archimedes inside, running with happy abandon. There is much to decide and do hundreds of tasks and questions, large and small. Underneath these practical matters, the founder’s growing commitment to the venture is helped along by a set of gathering forces. These forces have been in play all along, like breezes blowing over the first flame of the founder’s idea to keep it alive. But now that the point of no return has been reached, they are like winds blowing in from all directions, oxygenating and heating the growing fire.

Leaders all over the world wrestle with the challenge of getting their team members to care deeply about the goals of a larger organization. They don’t understand how employees who are disengaged and apathetic at work can show fanatical passion in their personal lives……..organizing citywide fund-raisers on weekends or maintaining Facebook pages with thousands of friends. 

A core principle is at work here: 

We authentically commit to those things that we have a direct role in creating. Whether it’s a product prototype or a new client account, I own what I create.

The same principle applies to your entrepreneurial venture. As you move from idea to action, creating something that can be read, seen, held, tested, or enjoyed in the world, your commitment naturally strengthens. Whether lines of code, a new bank account, a business plan, or a napkin sketch, every new work product puts extra wind in your sails and amplifies your energy and ownership.


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