Key Takeaways:

We suffer more often in imagination than we do in reality” - Seneca

This past week was a tough one for me and my team - we had to (and still are) putting out a fire (fire - make it or break it moments in your business). Getting through this week was tough, but there were some key lessons I learned:

  1. Fires suck, but it’s a good testament to learning how your team is going to work together in a challenging situation.

I know that this is not going to be the last fire that we put out as a team. Given the nature of our business and the amount of time that we’re going to spend doing this, I know there will be more fires in the future that we run into (it would be naive of me to think otherwise).

As a team, this was the first big challenge that we faced, and even though we’re still going through it, I was really happy to see the way that we handled the situation. Instead of the first reaction being to jump ship, the first reaction was to double down and come up with solutions on how to resolve the situation. We reached out to family, friends, and advisors for advice and figured out a list of steps we needed to execute to get the situation resolved - and proceeded from there. As a founder, this gives me confidence to know that I’m working with the right team and the right people who will help us reach our goal. Ultimately, I know for future reference now that these are the people I can rely on in future challenging situations.

This isn’t something that just applies to startup founders though, this can be applied for other relationships. Going through big challenges together is what ultimately gives you the confidence in the future to get through tough situations. While it would be amazing to assume that life is going to be full of positive moments, it’s best to know that you can stand through the worst and come out ok.

  1. You need to take small risks to get the confidence to handle bigger situations.

If we didn’t take the risk we did four years ago venturing into startups and didn’t take the risk to move to Tanzania last year, we would not have had the confidence to go through the situation we’re going through right now with an all-in mentality.

To be honest, we knew that the issue we’re running into now would be a problem at one point or another. Solving this issue a year ago would have been really costly, and we didn’t have the confidence at the time to go all-in. Instead of going all-in then, we took the risk of travelling to Tanzania and living in East Africa for 5 months to learn more about the business and the problems. Now that we have this fire to put out, we know that the problem we’re solving still exists, and so it’s an easy decision for us to financially go all-in.

I think this indicates that sometimes taking small steps is what helps you go even faster in the future. Instead of never starting to begin with, take the risk and start small, and learn from there.

Compare this to weightlifting. If you never start in the gym because you’re scared you’re going to break your back or strain a muscle, then you’ll live the rest of your life not working out. But, if you start small - doing machine workouts or going for walks every other day, you might eventually get to the point where you feel confident enough to try new things - or to hire a personal trainer to help you progress.

  1. At any given moment - you are ok.

    There was a lot of built up stress this week from the events that we faced. But one thing that got me through it was listening to Fear Setting by Tim Ferriss and listening to a short summary on Letters from a Stoic by Seneca - both reflections on stoicism and living an honourable life.

    At any given moment, if you are alive, you are ok. You may be facing an insane amount of stress from the world, but if you are alive - if you have clothes on your back, food to eat, and a roof over your head - you are ok. The choices we make in life may end up being “wrong decisions” in retrospect, but we can’t look back and beat ourselves up over it. If a wrong decision led you to a worse-off state, you put yourself in a position to strengthen your mind, to become more wise, and ultimately to make more difficult decisions in your life so that you can live an honourable life rather than one where you don’t give your all to the world.