This was the view from my wife’s car as she drove to exercise on New Year’s Day. The sun was just starting to rise and she needed to be up on those hills behind this bridge where she would meet her friends for their annual run. The problem was she couldn’t see past this bridge. The path was lost in a deep fog. The road ahead was unknown, uncertain, and scary. She had some choices to make and she had to make them quickly!
Doesn’t this sound like the daily journey through entrepreneurship? You have this great idea that you’re going to set out and accomplish something. You prepare your essentials… You plan as any optimist would… You step out and take the cold water plunge into the unknown… Only to find…
To find what?
To find adversity.
I tell all aspiring entrepreneurs that “entrepreneurship is the hardest profession you can choose”. If you’re a true entrepreneur, you’re risking everything. I’m talking a true everything bagel – you’re risking your finances, your pride, your freedom, and your reputation. Wait, true entrepreneur? What is that? True entrepreneurs don’t start by looking to raise a kazillion dollars of others money. True entrepreneurs know that with great risk, comes great reward so they put their own moola into the game.
Now back to the journey through adversity. In 2007, I set out as a bootstrapping entrepreneur alongside my longtime friend Hans van der Pasch. We encountered adversity along each and every step of the way. In 2017, our team acquired ASHCOR. Guess what? Same story of adversity. In 2021, our team co-founded BlackSmith Ventures. Guess what? Yep, more fog at the end of the bridge.
Here are three ways you can deal with adversity when it inevitably strikes:
Step 1: Understand and Expect Adversity to Hit
They say knowledge is half the battle. So, take that optimistic self and sprinkle in a little pessimistic self and make sure you are ready for the best case scenario and the “poop the bed” scenario.
Step 2: You Win in the Moments
Our team learned a long time ago the motto, “Let’s go win the day”. We say this to encourage ourselves that today is all we have. Yesterday is over, tomorrow is not here yet, but today is ours to concur. Let me take that one step further. “Let’s go win the moment”. When its really hard – like stopping on a bridge because the fog is too dense and too frightening to pass – you have the permission to focus only on the moment. The very next step – no matter how small. If you tackle that moment, you have won, friend.
Step 3: The Mission is Bigger than You so Get Over Yourself and Just Keep Fighting
If we are going to do what we are here to do then quitting is the only failure. What are we here to do, you may ask? We are here to make an infinite impact on others. Its not fancy, sexy, or hypothetical. It’s simply the opportunity to go out and positively impact one person. If we can accomplish that goal, then there is a possibility that person will impact another. We can only live and operate in the opportunities and possibilities so just keep fighting the good fight, friend.
Remember, failure doesn’t exist unless you give up.
Stuck, need help, feeling like a failure? Reach out to our team. If nothing else, you’ll find an experienced, encouraging word. It takes a village, fellow entrepreneur, founder, and business owner. Let’s do this together.
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Oh, and wondering about my wife? She made it and had a wonderful 10.5 mile run with her friends (in the sun).