What Entrepreneurs Don’t Tell You about the Fight

A little perspective from up North. Our Canadian portfolio CEO, Guy Gal, forwarded over a great piece from StartupNorth titled The Things an Entrepreneur Will Never Tell You. It is definitely worth a quick read as entrepreneurs often feel they are unique in what they are going through in terms of high's & lows, feeling alone, handling the spectre of failure, letting others down, etc. Generically, entrepreneurship is a gallant fight to change the world (or your sector) but it is critical not only stop putting the entire burden on your shoulders but also to "lean into" or embrace the various specific elements of this burden.

For example, fear of failure is a universal one for everyone (entrepreneur or not). What will people think? Who am I disappointing? What will this mean for my future/career? What is the financial impact? The reality is, the sun will shine tomorrow regardless. Unless failure means someone "shooting you in the head" (Dave McClure quote), you'll have another bite at the apple. You likely won't starve on the streets; you'll find another job or start-up; your family (and investors if you handle things with diginity & fairness) will love you.

So, regarding facing fear of failure, I think the core of the Samarai code said it best. A little deep thought here.

"If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling." — Hagakure

What this means is that the Samarai gets comfortable with death (he is already there and all is upside) and enters battle fully committed and without fear. In the case of an entrepreneur, he/she must realize that failure is survivable, not terminal. Picture what life would be like if it did not work…you'll realize life goes on. Then, go out with full commitment (and paranoia:) and change the world.

A good quote from the blog post above is about how entrepreneurs will often feel isolated or alone as they fight through their cause. Find outlets to talk about what you are going through. Again, it will allow you to be fully committed and able.

You learn quickly that you can’t take your problems home because one day you are up and one day you are down, or you might be both on the same day. It doesn’t feel fair to put that on your partner, and if you did they would eventually get tired of it after years of constant ups and downs.

You toughen up and you bottle it up. You are afraid to really talk about things because you can’t afford to open the bottle– it might knock off your focus and set your company back. That’s a no-no.

The best investors in the world know that entrepreneurs have this loneliness and they take time to give you a safe space to vent. Almost nobody else can give you this safe space and it takes a lot of work on both sides to develop a level of trust that allows it."

Take a look at the post and see what parts resonate with your own behavior and live to die another day!