"Finally a way to follow-up, without me."
When starting a startup you need to live, breathe and eat what you're building.
PolitePersistence has been no different.
Like most startups, it has been an emotional roller coaster. Mainly an internal emotional ride.
We go from "We have a great product! People would be crazy not to use this." to "We'll be lucky if people use it. Who really needs this?"
If you've ever started a business you know what I'm talking about but even if you haven't these emotional highs and lows are a part of everyday life.
For this post I was struggling with what I should write.
According to the internet marketing gurus, I should write a highly converting, SEO'd masterpiece to focus on bringing more eyes to our site who will sign up to be on the beta list... but I didn't want to do that.
Yes, at some point we should and we will but for now I want to focus on writing something that is more personal.
Music is one of those personal vaults that we can enter when we're feeling sad, lonely, afraid, happy, anxious - the list goes on.
So for this post I want to open up my vault and share with you a song by one of my favorite bands.
I don't just want to share the song with you in this YouTube link but I also will break down the lyrics in a way that applies to our journey.
We aren't all that different and many of you might have a similar reaction or interpretation of how the lyrics speak to you.
Before continuing I recommend you listen to Zac Brown Band's Knee Deep here then come on back to this email or read the blog post. Don’t pay attention to the video so much as listen to the lyrics.
Really. Go ahead and listen before continuing or you won't have the full effect of the melody and lyrics.
I chose this song because I believe in some ways that its representative of the goal that we as entrepreneurs and business owners share. To achieve our passion and not worry about another thing.
Gonna put the the world away for a minute
Pretend I don't live in it
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away
This verse is really powerful. It sums up what happens eventually for every entrepreneur and business owner who gives it their all.
Who is so dedicated and yet so tired and wants to ‘put the world away’ by turning off their cell phone, shutting their laptop and simply disconnecting from the world.
The trying lifestyle of little sleep, failed businesses, lost customers, strains on family and friends, and daily sacrifices all contribute to wanting to ‘put the world away for a minute.’
But the tone here isn't negative - just the opposite, he has a positive outlook on life as if to start fresh and pick up the pieces in order to get back on the saddle to tackle what lies before him.
How many professional failures have you faced? Is it a failure if you’ve learned something?
There is always something to smile about no matter how bad it looks.
Had sweet love but I lost it
She got too close so I fought her
Now I'm lost in the world trying to find me a better way
Music is great because of so many interpretations.
I don't interpret this verse at all having to do with the ‘sweet love’ as a person.
For instance, my wife and I have a tremendous relationship and when I showed her this song she thought I was talking about fighting her. Obviously not!
For me this is a ‘sweet love’ of my past failed businesses.
I loved those businesses but I lost each of them. Reasons abound: I didn't have the product market fit correct, I didn't understand my customer base, etc.
‘Fought her’ references that emotional struggle that I mentioned earlier.
For me, fighting her is coming up with an idea, pursuing that idea and at some point battling myself into submission because I eventually had conflicting feelings about how successful the business would be - ultimately leading to abandonment.
‘Now I'm lost in the world trying to find me a better way’ is searching for my next big thing. As entrepreneurs, the ideas and brainstorming never ceases.
Some might say if you aren’t lost and looking then you’re complacent. I think this applies more to Steve Job’s axiom of “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Wishing I was knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise
This is the chorus and so masterfully phrased at that.
Hearing this verse makes me feel like I'm sitting on a beach with a Corona in one hand and my wife's hand in the other with sun glasses on, laid back with my head against a beach chair.
I think I appreciate this chorus so much because this, in some regards, this is the goal.
TO be successful in whatever you do so that the only worry you have ‘is the tide gonna reach my chair’.
‘My own kind of paradise’ is being completely content and happy with the state of your being.
Whether that being is for you to make $10M or if that state of being is the satisfaction that you gain from creating something from scratch that people appreciate and makes their life easier - the state of being is your own kind of paradise.
For me, my state of being is to build PolitePersistence so that it literally saves people hours of work a week so they can spend more time with family and friends.
My state of being used to be tied to a dollar amount. I let that paradigm go long ago. It wasn’t healthy.
What’s your state of being? Curious to know.
Wrote a note said be back in a minute
Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
Don't think anybody gonna miss me anyway
This verse represents the feeling that you've ‘made it’ so you can have the flexibility to ‘sail off’ without repercussions negatively impacting your life.
‘Don't think anybody gonna miss me anyway’, means that you have done such a great job removing yourself from your business in so far that your business doesn't need you to run the daily operations.
In other words, you can step away and still have a successful business.
This is similar to the lifestyle design philosophy that Tim Ferriss references in his 4 Hour Work Week.
Mind on a permanent vacation
The ocean is my only medication
Wishing my condition ain't ever gonna go away
I enjoy the ocean and beaches.
Specifically, uncrowded beaches.
The best beach I found for this feeling of putting my mind on a permanent vacation was in Sandals Royal Bahamian in the Bahamas.
They have a private island and whenever I hear this song that's where I see myself.
When I was there I wished my condition of being on vacation was never going to go away.
Work hard to get back there.
Where is your permanent vacation? Is getting back their part of your plan?
This champagne shore washing over me
It's a sweet sweet life living by the salty sea
One day you could be as lost as me
Change you're geography
Maybe you might be
The imagery and phrase ‘champagne shore’ works so well as a double entendre.
I worked in a nightclub as a VIP Host for awhile and whenever I saw champagne it was because someone was celebrating.
‘Champagne shores washing over me’ means that the pursuits and fruits of your labor are successful and you're enjoying a flowing sea of champagne - slurp it up!
I also believe that ‘change your geography’ is tied to changing your mindset.
Believe you will be successful and if you have to move things in your life to do so then so be it.
Changing your geography doesn’t have to just apply to physical locations.
Consider the following ways you can change your mindset:
Move away from a negative friend or group of friends toward a more positive friend or group
Get outside and speak to customers / clients instead of wondering about their thoughts and feedback
Surround yourself with mentors. Organizations like SCORE could be a great place to start
What else can you think up?
Come on in the water it's nice
Find yourself a little slice
Grab a backpack of lies
You never know until you try
When you lose yourself
You find the key to paradise.
‘Come on in the water’ basically calls to me because if you're not already in the game you can't win. If you’ve always wanted to start that business or try selling that product there’s no better time than now.
There's also plenty in the pie to go around. Your ‘little slice’ can be of a large market which still makes it worth your efforts and energy.
This is why there's never too much competition in some industries.
‘Grab a backpack of lies’ was a little confusing at first but when you stop and think about it - it's almost like you're starting your journey down the entrepreneur path and what is one thing that is sometimes required to be successful?
Fake it, till you make it.
That ‘backpack of lies’ is just a tool to get you to your paradise.
‘You never know until you try’ - obvious.
My two favorite lines in the whole song are the last two.
When you lose yourself - you find the key to paradise
It sums up the song’s theme of letting your passion take over and by doing so it's truly the only way to find your key to your state of being or your paradise.
Didn't mean for this to feel like 7th grade English class by analyzing and breaking down line by line.
I hope that, after reading my interpretation, you can see how this song is very motivating and uplifting.
It’s a song about success and why we do what we do as entrepreneurs and business owners.
We make that sacrifice because we ultimately want to only worry about if our tide is going to reach our chair.
As mentioned, these are my interpretations.
Curious to know how you might interpret Zac Brown’s Knee Deep.
If there is another song that inspires you on your entrepreneurial pursuits let us know - maybe we can look into it further like we did here.