There is value in each slip, fall, and fumble as a startup entrepreneur. The startup period of every business is known for slapping you in your face, punching you in your stomach and outright beating you down. Most entrepreneurs end up quitting, giving up on their dream, because they dwell too long on these bumps and bruises. You can be different.
A successful startup business comes with an owner who has found “diamonds” in the ruins of their painful past. Despite the scrapes and scars there is much to be learned and even more important, to be thankful for.
1. Blind Leaps
As a startup, there is no crystal clear path to success and that can be scary. Many steps will be based on an educated guess and leaps of faith. Many of these won’t always end the way you’d like. Despite fear, indecision and doubt there can be many benefits for “walking in the fog”. You may not be able to see far down the road, (another scary thought), but you’ll never know where that next step leads until you first take one.
Because you’re willing to keep moving forward you may find out that the fog lifts just on the other side. Perhaps every step is blurry, but realize that fear itself was all that was keeping you from the momentum you needed. Learn to appreciate the important personal and professional lesson that comes with each blind leap into the unknown. Clarity can be right around the corner.
2. Nauseating Change
The journey of a startup can be compared to a trip across the open sea. Just when you think you’ve been blessed with clear skies and easy sailing, all of a sudden the clouds roll in and a storm hits. A business startup can experience very quick and sometimes very volatile shifts. The change in winds, waves, and weather not only have you feeling “lost at sea” they can also send you off a path and feeling like you’re taking on water.
Over time you’ll learn changes in weather are a part of this trek all you can do is adjust the sails accordingly. If you’re pushed off track you’ll redirect and find your way back. Learn to navigate the waves of change and find when, what, and how much change you can handle as captain.
All you have to shoulder as a business leader can create a physical and emotional battlefield. The stress of taking leaps of faith, unpredictable changes and the repetitive daily responsibilities can be burdening. It’s easy for feelings of worry, guilt, and doubt to build up. The emotional roller coaster, the little things that zap you of your energy and other tough choices can completely suck the excitement out of the ride.
Don’t get too caught up in the day-to-day and stay true to your purpose. There will be many circumstances that will create stress, anxiety and other types of tension, however, it’s vital to keep chugging. Each time you push through the friction will help you gain the force and velocity you need for bigger more difficult work down the road. Be smart and know your limits while pushing just past your perceived limits. Resilience is developed by testing your comfort zone.
4. Repeated Failure
Even with an appreciation for all of the above, you will experience disappointing losses. You’ll fall behind, you’ll struggle with client acquisition and you’ll miss project deadlines. All of which will make you question if you’re built for entrepreneurship. However, failure is the best place knowledge, skills and experience is gained.
Start, follow through, fail and take the reigns back by being grateful for all you’ve acquired. Reflect and consciously collect every small win. Each time you study your startup struggles you will discover greater success.
Business growth is molded by learning to appreciate the emotional, physical and logical confidence you gain throughout the tough times. Sustainability starts by being thankful for the opportunity to live out your passion despite startup struggles. Be grateful for every up, down, shift and pivot.
Most importantly, know that each stumble is not a step back, but a place to recalibrate. Reload with a greater appreciation for your commitment to making a difference, the complexity of the startup process, and the opportunities available to you and your customers.
There are endless possibilities for those who stay happy, humble and hungry through the pain. Look back at a couple of your most recent startup struggles, find the buried treasures you’ve missed, regain your internal motivation and begin building an arsenal thanks.
What recent startup struggles have you had a tough time with and can now be thankful for? What was the lesson? You can start or join the conversation by leaving a comment below or on our social media outlets.