During college, I started a club for people interested in working for a pharmaceutical company. It was my first time starting anything. I had a pretty decent job working at Pfizer and was still deciding if I wanted to go into medicine. The club sounded fun and something good to put on my resume.
I asked a couple of my smartest friends to join. And somehow got the courage to ask my favorite professor to be part of it and he even said yes. I was ecstatic. I already had visions of the club being on the biggest at school. Unfortunately, it never got anywhere close to that. It only lasted a few meetings before it fizzled out.
What did we talk about for those meetings? The name of the club. That’s it. We couldn’t come up with a name. And each person wanted it to be something different. It was my first venture as a leader. Looking back, I’m thankful that it was something with such low stakes.
I was with my smartest friends. I didn’t feel I had the right to change the subject. I wanted everyone to have their say. Everyone was so excited to start the club. We lost all our momentum. The club never even got started.
Thinking back, we lost the forest for the trees. A name? It didn’t matter. Just look at some of the biggest names out there now: Google, Uber, Facebook. Their names don’t mean anything. Nothing profound. If instead, we would have gotten a few easy wins the club may have survived to do something meaningful.
It did lead me to learn some lessons:
1. True leadership means looking at the bigger picture and choosing priorities
2.Don’t waste the momentum and excitement you have when starting something new. Do something.
3. Remember that not everything needs to be right in the beginning, you can always change or pivot.