Startups are hard. This we all know to be true.
But they’re hard not because the work is hard, but because the toll they take mentally.
There is so much uncertainty and ambiguity and so much at stake that each day feels like a roller coaster of highs and lows, wins and misses, steps forward and falls back.
It is brutal on your mind and your emotions. Each one of us is naturally optimistic but it’s tough to take blow after blow and stay standing. Every destructive emotion fights to permeate that place in your mind you hang on to keep your resolve. Doubt, fear, insecurity, frustration, anger, anxiety. All of them rush in at once, blowing up your day.
That’s what really kills start-ups. When they lose the will to live and fight another day.
But instead of fighting them all, I’ve realized that doubt will always live here. Beside me. Within me.
But not insecurity.
Doubts keep me humble. They keep me honest. They make me human. I’m not proud of it and I can’t indulge in much of it, but I’ve made my peace with the fact that it must naturally exist if I am to be a responsible, conscientious founder.
But I cannot abide by its more evil friend, insecurity. Because insecurity cripples me from acting. From trying. From moving forward.
And that I can have no room for. No patience. No space.
Insecurity makes its home in a lack of confidence, it brings with it second-guessing. It reduces will down to mere thought.
The only way forward is to have faith. A confidence that what we are doing is maybe not right each day but directionally correct.
Everyday my team and I have to find within our selves the confidence to move forward. To let doubt in for a while but to shut the door to everything else.
Because that’s the thing. Confidence with a tinge of doubt is a powerful thing. It keeps us connected and curious while continuing to try audacious things.
That’s the only way the impossibly hard becomes merely hard.