“What do you want to do?” might not be the right way to ask this question
I wanted to share something with you that’s been on my mind lately.
“So, what do you want to do next?” is the question I keep hearing since I publicly announced that I’m looking for new projects. In a way, I’ve answered it in my call for new projects. In a way, I’ve also not answered it. At least, not in a way that would lead to a great outcome.
Speaking with someone who works at an accelerator, you know they hear many good (and bad) ideas every single day. Yet what is it that distinguishes a good pitch from a bad one?
“I keep hearing a lot about solutions. I hear how people want to solve this or that. It’s almost as if the problem wasn’t even worth discussing. If someone is passionate about a problem and they managed to explain why they are the right person to solve it, I’ll listen up. Because then you know even if the first approach to solving a problem fails, they’ll go after finding another solution. And should that approach not work either, they’ll keep looking. Then it's just about them convincing you they're the right person to solve that very problem by sharing WHY they care.”
In the startup world, it’s become normal to try out different ideas, pursue different businesses, and even switch between industries if what you tried to do didn't work out as planned. Often, people don’t just go after a whole new sector. They also change the problem they want to solve.
After having spent the afternoon preparing for my TEDx talk, all my guiding sentences, my values, and ideas... everything I’ll talk about in Graz in February popped up in my mind.
I’ve always loved the internet because it’s an incredible platform to share what you’re excited about. It’s a platform to share those ideas and passions freely. And it’s a platform that enables each and every one of us to find and be found by our like minds. If we master how we tell our story, we’ll eventually find those who’ll want to listen, who’ll support us, and who’ll share our passions too.
In Work Trips and Road Trips, I wrote that one finds purpose if they decide on the community they want to serve and see benefit. And I still believe that’s one side of the coin. Yet, it’s also very much about the problem one wants to solve. I’ve always loved the internet for giving each and every one of us the possibility to become and be seen for who we want to be. It’s something I’ve been vocal about since I worked at Somewhere.com. It’s something I’ve been preaching in all my books. It’s something I’ll talk about at TEDx too. In my last post, I might have shared my thoughts and ideas on the formats in which I want to work, yet I’ve not acknowledged my guiding sentence, and what it is that’s deeply connected to my personal values.
Which brings me to..
Next time you have to decide what you want to do next, you might want to ask yourself:
Who are the people I want to serve with my work?
What is the problem I’m genuinely passionate about solving?
What’s the mission I see be the red thread in my work and how can I continue solving the problem I deeply care about?
Answering those questions might make it easier to tell your story. It will definitely be more comfortable to explain mine.