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John Petersen

Can't Stand the Heat

One of my favorite daily activities is to sit in a sauna and sweat like an offensive lineman on his first day of pre-season in the summer heat of Texas. I can't really describe why I like it so much, but there's something about the intense heat that allows me to focus. Apparently, it has some ridiculous health benefits which is a nice bonus.

I use the sauna at the gym which is always interesting. My favorite person is the guy who comes into the sauna and says, "Whew. It's hot in here," and then walks out seconds later.

What did you expect when you entered the sauna? For it not to be hot? I am baffled by this person.

If you can't stand the heat, stay the hell out of the sauna.

Aligning Expectations

If you walk into a sauna, you should expect it to be hot and that you're going to sweat. If you don't want to sweat, don't go in the sauna. Take a warm shower instead.

This misalignment of expectations happens every day. If you want to be an amazing design agency but you hate working with clients, you are going to struggle. If you want to become more physically fit but you're unwilling to change your habits, it's going to be difficult to make any significant progress. If you want to build a fashion app but you hate the fashion industry, you are not going to be very successful.

I know this sounds obvious, but people walk into the sauna every day and complain about the heat. I talk to founders all the time who don't really appreciate or understand the industry their startup is in.

If you take two equally talented founders and put them head to head against each other, the one who lives and breathes their industry will beat the outsider every time. Investors know this. We all know this. And yet it's one of the hardest things for founders to embrace.

Love the heat

It's not enough to understand that the sauna is hot. You need to fully embrace it. You need to love the heat. With love, anything is possible.

The best agencies are the one's who love working with clients; not the ones who can tolerate their clients. The founders who are going to succeed are the one's who love the problem that they are solving; not the ones who are just annoyed by it.

One of the reasons I freely give away startup ideas is that I'm not in love with those problems. I think the solutions are interesting and some could absolutely be financially lucrative. My hope is that the right person will stumble upon some of my random ideas, and it will ignite something inside them. And if they want Firehawk to help them build it, even better!

I love my time in the sauna. It's easily the most relaxing part of my day. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the sauna. Or learn to love the heat.

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