Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’


The 80s were dominated by 3 "Mikes" ... Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, and Mike Tyson. Each of them were completely spectacular in their heyday ... Jordan was ... well, MJ. Jackson dazzled crowds with his moon walk. Tyson was the ultimate intimidator. Still to this day I can't shake these childhood influences. Particularly when it comes to music ... it doesn't matter the day or time but as soon as I hear Michael I'm carried away.

Just this morning I was reminded again of Michael Jackson when I came across his song "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." Listen, I tried my best to connect the lyrics of this song to something related to church planting, social entrepreneurship, and community development. No such luck. However, it was the song title that grabbed my attention and got me thinking about these topics.

Much of this is also tied to reflecting on who I am and how I'm wired. When it comes to startups and the runway to launch I simply opt to just press the ignition and take off ... start. My thought is once I'm in the air then I'll reach over and pick up the instruction manual and actually learn how to do this. I'm not saying that's optimal way to go, but it's part of my quirky wiring. I'm in the midst of it now starting a collegiate cycling team and am neck deep studying for my coaching license and learning about all of the ins-and-outs of training, nutrition, physiology, and more.

I think for many, they love the idea of starting something more than the actual process of starting it. I always hear this same theme when it comes to sports. Often times you hear athletes talking about the need to "love the process" or enjoy the grind ... practices, training, film study, etc just as much as game day. You need to love sitting in a dark room and studying film for 6 hours. But all of the "glory" is on Sundays for NFL players. However, repeatedly what separates good from great are those who simply out work everyone else. They are in love with the process as difficult as it is even thought it is not fun at all. That's why they call it a grind.

The same applies to startups ... whether we're talking new businesses, non-profits, or churches. If you don't love the grind, the long hours, and the sacrifice then it may not be for you. It's like we want the rewards without the work. I think for many the idea of starting a business sounds fun ... a coffee shop, multimedia company, a clothing line, and so on. Our imagination carries us away as we envision how "great it will be." I quickly tell people that before you start you need to realize it's a grind ... and a glorious one. Long hours, toiling away without hype or fanfare, sacrificing family time and finances, and more.

But why do we do it? We're working towards a goal ... to launch something meaningful. Meaningful to us and meaningful to those we serve whether we're talking about a business or a church.

So you "wanna be startin' somethin'?" Good, brace yourself for the grind.