There’s a common philosophy that encourages entrenching yourself in a project or organization so that you are hard to replace. It suggests that you want to be in a position where things couldn’t function without you because obviously in a case like this you are a very valuable part of the equation.

I used to think this made a lot of sense. Now I think it’s both stupid and cowardly.

Consider this:

  • Interesting projects attract awesome people.
  • Empowered fans become the most motivated leaders.
  • Leadership needs to be excited.
  • Term limits work in politics, maybe they should be applied to leadership as well.
  • Anyone who is worried about being replaced, probably should be.
  • If the idea is solid, it can live on without you.
  • If you are worried about losing control, then you don’t have time to worry about making the project more awesome.
  • The project can always be more awesome.
  • Anyone who is an active and valuable part of a team isn’t going to be replaced.
  • Anyone who isn’t an active and valuable part of a team should be replaced.

All this applies to founders as much as it does to people who join up several steps down the line. Earlier this week I talked about leaving Metblogs and suggested it’s something that perhaps should have happened sooner. It didn’t for many reasons, but not the least of which was my fear that without me things would fall apart. This is admittedly conceited and self important. It’s also false – Metblogs is and has always much bigger than me. I knew that, but I didn’t really know what that meant. I don’t know that I do now either, but I think I have a little bit more of an idea anyway – and that is that ideas are much more important than any one person and a really good idea will attract people who will embrace it as their own. This is kind of crucial, if no one else wants to embrace an idea it’s probably not that good.

I’m projecting here of course, but this is my blog so I’m allowed to do that. I have a short attention span. Some people can work on one project for years, hell some people work on one project for their entire lives. I completely respect that dedication, and at the same time I know that sounds like total hell to me. No matter how great the project is, as some point it’s just the project you’ve been working on for X years and you can’t see it from the same perspective as someone who just discovered it and is wholly consumed by the excitement of it.

Which is sort of what has led me to this new perspective.

Creating something that you can walk away from and it lives on it awesome. Super WIN.

Realizing you’ve contributed everything you can to a project and being comfortable with walking away allows someone else can take it to the next level. Super WIN.

Creating something that you can walk away from allows you to find the next exciting thing to create. Super WIN.