top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Rae-Grant


Updated: Apr 13, 2020

As I said in an earlier post, I’m working on something (a stealth start-up) that feels great. I wanted to share what is different about the path to greatness, as opposed to the treadmill of mere goodness. ENDLESS ENERGY This thing that I am working on pumps me up. I can spend three hours on a budget spreadsheet and end it with more excitement than I began with. Our team meetings (there are three of us) start with a bang and end with a crescendo. We almost always complete more than we set out to. There is no bogging down. Turn taking is easy. DESIRE TO SHARE In contrast to many work endeavors (where the last thing in the world you want to do is talk about it after hours or with friends) I love talking with everyone and anyone about what we are doing. I bounce ideas off of my high school friends, LinkedIn contacts, and even my kids. If I “have to” contact someone - a potential investor or collaborator, there’s no hesitation, as I know that the thing is strong and will interest them. PUTTING OFF PROCRASTINATION Working on something great, there’s still procrastination, but the excitement about getting back to it outweighs the eeyore voice, every time. Instead of “having to”, I “get to”. My team mates are similar, stuff gets done on, or ahead of time, because we are pumped. Other commitments take a back seat. After a meeting with an advisor or investor, we debrief and course correct immediately, not because we “should” but because we are itching to. EASE OF EXPRESSION I rewrote the Zazengo pitch many many times, and have seen other entrepreneurs or leaders come up with endless reworkings of even the elevator pitch of a business or project. The thing that all of these iterations have in common is that they are initially exciting, and quickly fade. None of the finely honed descriptions of a good project will really hit the mark. At best, they will avoid confusion. In working on this latest business, we have multiple elevator pitches and taglines, but they are all great. People immediately get what we are doing. There’s no lack of connection or initial uptake. Since “it” is great, people get “it”. Even finding names for this one has been easy. Anyone who has been through that agony before knows what a gift that is. THE TEAM MATERIALIZES Great projects attract great people. Similar to how they make prioritization of features and work items easy, they make personal prioritization easy. People find a way to work on things that are great. The people who are in the “zone” right now will find you when the thing is singing through you. This is the feeling of having “mojo”, you can enlist, attract, convince, all with complete honesty. EFFORTLESS TEAMWORK When we’re working on something great, the egos get checked at the door. No one is worrying about titles, ownership, authority, we’re just working. Stuff gets done because we’re all psyched about getting it done. Making decisions is easy. Adopting new ideas, and pivoting, happens as we flock together. DROPPING DEFENSES In contrast to some projects I’ve worked on in the past, I find that I want criticism, welcome it, even seek it out. I don’t feel a need to defend “my baby”, as it seems more “grown up” to me. That defensiveness is always a sign of insecurity, and it is startling to learn how much of that insecurity is about “it” rather than about “me”. My partners are the same - we all feel free to poke holes in any aspect of what we’re building, and to accept input from others. It doesn’t need us to keep it safe, so we can focus on making it even stronger. CONNECTION HAPPENS My final point is a new one. I’ve noticed that when I’ve been working on this “great thing”, I want to connect with people. It doesn’t matter whether I am going to talk with them about my work at all. I’m talking about the people in the elevator, the line at the security check in, at the gym, or serving my food. There’s a new interest, curiousity and openness to the world. Working on something great reminds me that I am something great (as are we all). So, don’t settle for good. Great is way way easier.


bottom of page