Building a company is really, really hardPosted: August 3, 2011 | Author: Dave Kashen | Filed under: Uncategorized | 11 Comments »
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
It’s 11:12pm and I just got an email from one of my startup CEO clients:
“It’s been a shitty week. The candidate said no. Not much positive news for our upcoming board meeting.”
I’m reminded of just how hard it is to build a company. In Silicon Valley and throughout the world, we’re bombarded by startup success stories – this company went IPO at this many billion dollar valuation, this company raised $50 million, this other one grew to $5mm/day in transactions seemingly overnight. The reality is that, for most people, building a company is not just a constant stream of success and excitement.More commonly, it’s a series of failures, setbacks and disappointments sprinkled with occasional wins. It’s an emotional roller coaster. It’s filled with sacrifice, tension, and tireless effort. It’s really, really hard.
So I just want to take a moment to honor all the entrepreneurs out there who, in the face of disappointment, setbacks and repeated failure, press on. Who choose to take that leap, away from the shores of safe, stable, predictable jobs, into the realm of uncertainty, doubt and fear. Because they believe they’re meant for something bigger. They see a vision for a different world and feel called toward it. They’re simply unwilling or unable to settle for anything less than a life fully lived.
In the end, what matters is not the level of outward success you achieve, but who you know yourself to be. So, when times get tough, I invite you to keep your head held high and press on. Ask yourself: “What story will I tell when all is said and done?” May your tale be one of perseverance, courage and heart.