We all wear costumes – and once a year, many of us put on a different one for Halloween. The notion of always “being yourself,” offered up as convenient wisdom in popular self-help books, lacks an appreciation for the realities of the business world. From conversation to conversation, in-person or otherwise, there is a constant pressure in the startup world to put on a show.
Too many entrepreneurs walk around like tanks and one can watch them plow around an event, slamming into one another; touting their thicker armor and better weaponry to take out their competitor. Except as a startup entrepreneur, the tank costume is made of papier-mâché. It’s heavy, fragile, hollow – and under the hood it’s a complete mess.
Rather than continuously wearing the costume of perfection, embrace vulnerability. All the effort put into delivering the perfect pitch or the perfect conversation doesn’t reveal anything meaningful to the other party. Startups have weaknesses, and so do the founders that run them.
Entrepreneurs need to shed their costumes, free themselves of the burden self-imposed upon them. In doing so, they will find that in those candid moments where they let down their guard, they will build the kind of meaningful relationships that actually matter to the survival and growth of their startups.
* This is part of a weekly column on Technori.com called “The Beardroom” – bite-sized observations on startup life from Technori Co-founder Seth Kravitz. *