A few days ago I tweeted out a phrase that stuck in my head as I was driving my kids to school (the kids were safely delivered and the car was parked before I hit 'compose'):
"Magic" is a word I use almost every day to describe the work of gifted founding teams.
The things that really talented entrepreneurs are able accomplish -- not only in terms of software execution, but also in their ability to forge emotional connections, their storytelling + influencing skills, and the sheer amount of perceptual space they're able to occupy on laughably limited resources -- are ultimately what separate great founders from all the rest.
Startup founders also work inhumanly hard to make seemingly impossible things appear effortless. They habitually put themselves into "against-all-odds" situations -- competing for contracts they have no business winning; taking on massive competitors with tiny, underfunded teams; recruiting co-founders who walk away from safe jobs with huge economics to come work for peanuts in unglamorous, Class C offices -- and somehow find ways to win, and keep on winning.
Startups sound glamourous to those who aren't in them, and -- like Houdini's best illusions -- the successful, public feats they accomplish may look easy from a distance.
But behind the curtains, the "magic" gets made in the long, gritty, stomach-churning months and years that founders devote to building things up and ripping them down, over and over, until they're just plain better than anything else out there.
Harry Houdini was a showman, a salesman and an illusionist -- but his success in all those roles was built on a relentless commitment to craft and a willingness to take more risk, more publicly, than anyone else in his field.
Whatever you set out to do in life, dare yourself to "be a Houdini" at it. Win or lose, you won't regret the journey.