On my run the other day I was listening to a recent Tim Ferriss podcast. This particular episode was a simple Q and A with Matt Mullenweg from Automatic (Wordpress et al). One thing he talks about (prompted by a listener question) is some of the reasons for success and specifically that there are no guarantees.
He mentions that one of the reasons he has been successful is resilience. Now this is something he has in common with many other high-achieving entrepreneurs - he quotes the example of Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Fire Phone which died a death worth many many millions. Nobody is immune to failure - certainly not those who are successful. He has failed but he is motivated to continue. He makes the valuable point that success can be down to the number of times you pick yourself up and try again following failure. Indeed the entrepreneur's many failures may go unnoticed - clouded by their more singular successes.
These are important points but what I took the most, from it, were his comments around that motivation to continue.
"Having a higher motivation beyond the extrinsic things which might come from success" is his advice, or rather, his ethos.
Now we can legitimately argue different ways how you define success but what is certain is that in business to increase the chance of it there must be a motivating factor which goes beyond the natural end result - money. There must be a driving force such as making the best product or filling a gap in the market; motivating factors which will increase the chance of success.
What is your motivation for doing something? This line of self-questioning feeds into corporate, brand or indeed personal identity and I think this is pretty crucial for me. Given that I am in the situation that I don’t know if The Armchair Mountaineer is going to make any money, to have an ultimate goal, a reason that makes it worth while is fundamental.
That underlying goal is reconnecting me with the outdoors, reconnecting me with the things that I love, reconnecting me with mental and physical well-being as well. That is the driving force, the main reason I am ploughing ahead with this modest web site. Then of course I have ideas that I can build onto the side, revenue generating ideas that I hope to be able to plug in and I am building content designed to bring traffic. But I have not gone into this project with them as the all-guiding principals. I am fortunate that I am in a position to be able to do this for a short while (even without generating income). But, regardless of this, it is an important point to make.
This search for a reconnection with the outdoors is leading me to do some voluntary work, something that has been unthinkable (rightly or wrongly) in the past due to the hours required in committing to a “regular” professional life. The guiding principal therefore, the goal of this project is for me to become a better person and, of course, derive enjoyment from something which is beyond materiality.
If one day it pays for itself, that will be an added success.