Putting Yourself on the Hook

I once read an entertaining account of some students who quit college to start a company. For the next few years the startup was constantly on the brink of folding, but each time they decided to stick it out. My favorite part of the story is when the business starting getting media coverage and the founders knew they couldn’t quit. Everyone was paying attention now. Failing would be too humiliating.

Performing in public can push people to succeed. Sometimes it makes sense to do make yourself accountable to others by choice, whether it’s a big promise or an aggressive deadline.

Because once people are depending on you to meet expectations you helped create, you’ll find energy reserves you never knew you had. A scary and painful tactic, but also effective and worthwhile — especially when you care enough about the outcome.