Building a business of any sort is really hard, and it’s not just intellectually challenging or financially challenging. It’s emotionally challenging. You can put in the very best effort, and do your very best work, and things still don’t break your way.
Regardless of what anyone wants to say, there is an element to luck and success. Growth comes from hard work plus luck, or maybe hard work creates some luck. There’s definitely an element of success being driven by events beyond your control, and those same events can punch you in the face a lot.
A funny definition of entrepreneur is someone who’s too dumb to know when to quit. Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream and CEO of Mobile Monkey, says an important quality of an entrepreneur is to be delusional. You have to be delusional because you’ve got to have an unwavering belief in yourself, and an unwavering belief in your mission, and in your vision, and in your team that you will accomplish the things you set out to accomplish.
There are so many variables involved in creating a successful organization that it’s impossible to account for them all. The longer you can hold on to that delusion, that delusion that you will be successful, that delusion that you can accomplish this unbelievably difficult thing, the more likely it is to stop being a delusion. Hold on long enough, and your delusion becomes an achievement.
That flipping point is different for everyone, but there can be a Thursday morning where it is dark and cold outside and you’re thinking, “I can’t get out of bed. I can’t do this again today. I can’t run uphill with people throwing rocks at me again.” You need to go back to the day you started your business, that opportunity, that hope, that vision, that dream, and allow yourself to feel it again. That’s the thing that’s going to get you through.
Despair comes from the fact that you have a short time horizon. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t stressed and there aren’t things that are time sensitive. It means that at first you only have to get through today. Then, when you’re ready, all you have to do is get through this week, and then this month, and by the time you get to this quarter, every day doesn’t matter because you are thinking ahead. You know today is handled. You will find that the longer you are able to extend your timeline, your thinking horizon, the easier it gets.