Focus On What You DON'T Want to Do

What happens when instead of worrying about the things we want to do, we focus on the things we never, ever want to do again? How can that start to take huge steps in reducing our overall stress?

September 5th, 2019   |    By: Wil Schroter    |    Tags: Strategy

Startups set tons of goals, and most are focused on what we want the business to achieve. But sometimes the most important goals to set are the things we DON'T want the business to do!

When we founded, we had lots of experience in previous startups doing things we loathed.

This time around, we set out to not only build a startup we loved, but an environment dedicated to avoiding things we couldn’t stand.

What did you never want to do again?

We began by listing all of the things we never wanted to do again like:

  • "Never working with jerks"
  • "Never creating any situation where we can be told what to do"
  • "Never letting our startup come before our family"

Among others.

Itemizing everything you absolutely don't want to do again is not only powerful, but it's also liberating.

It cuts past all of the subconscious reasons we lean toward avoiding certain issues and just puts them front and center. "Why didn't we want to raise capital? Reason: We didn't want to be told what to do."

Saying it sounds easy. How hard is it really?

Saying that we "won't answer to anyone" is one thing, but it's much harder to do when the bank account is almost empty and we're dying for an investor to help pull us from oblivion.

We've found the key to sticking to our guns is having goals that everyone truly believes in. This makes it easier to band together to rally around goals when it would just be SO much easier to abandon them altogether.

Sometimes the "Win" is what you don't have to do

Life (even at a startup) isn't always just about what we get to do — it's often about what we don't have to do.

Not sacrificing our core beliefs and goals, no matter what the upside, can become one of the most powerful and rewarding parts of building a startup our way.

The first step is to simply put them in front of us and commit.

In Case You Missed It

7 Business Goals for Early Stage Startups. Mapping out business goals for an early-stage startup can be tricky. Here's a loose guideline to help you get there.

Start Faster by Starting Smaller. Building a startup is a game of tiny wins over and over and over. The big wins come as a result of the micro victories. The key is how you pick your battles.

Team Goals are Your Company’s Recipe for Success. Sometimes as Founders we get so focused on the big-picture goals we have for our company, we forget about another set of goals we should be setting: goals for our team.

About the Author

Wil Schroter

Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @, a startup platform that includes BizplanClarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual. He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement). After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do. He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.

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