I was talking with my friend Penelope Trunk (side note: BUY HER BOOK, like everything else about her, it's great), who encouraged me to post a few of the tidbits I shared. Thank you, Penelope.
I work a lot with young entrepreneurs, which means that I work with a lot of first-time entrepreneurs. Some of the most valuable advice I give them is to take a long-term perspective.
"Don't confuse effort with results."
The romanticized image of working 24/7 often causes young entrepreneurs to think that the key to success is hard work. Hard work is necessary, but not sufficient. The smart entrepreneur focuses on results, rather than simply trying to outwork the competition.
"Don't let your natural instinct for action overwhelm your view of the big picture."
Many entrepreneurs, being action-oriented, think that the first thing to do when a challenge arises is to rush into solving it. WRONG! Reacting instantaneously to everything that happens is a certain recipe for incoherent strategy and business disaster. It's like the dieter who weighs himself every day--basing his self-worth and actions on a metric that naturally varies on a day-to-day basis. Unless you learn something that invalidates your strategy and goals, it's best to focus on the important things, rather than the urgent ones.
"There will be times when you feel invincible. There will be times when you feel doomed. You're wrong in both cases."
Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride. If you treat each step forward as a triumph, and each step backwards as a tragedy, you'll find yourself emotionally exhausted and, likely, making bad decisions. Keep your eye on the big picture, and don't let the highs and lows get away from you.