Entrepreneurship - A View From The Trenches
Updated: Sep 9, 2021
Let me start by saying that it is humbling to write about entrepreneurship sitting in Silicon Valley. Hardly a day goes by here without learning about path breaking work that someone is doing that is truly making a difference to the world.
In my own small way, though, I have been on an entrepreneurial journey as well over the last few years. It has been exciting and fulfilling in many ways, but it has not always been an easy ride. I've had many a sleepless night when I have agonized over my choices, times when I doubted myself. And yet, when things have seemed at their lowest, somehow things have materialized in the most incredible and unexpected ways.
So, here are some things that I have learnt:
Keep showing up. There is no other way to succeed. If you want to win, you have to play the game. Day after day, nothing matters more than persistence. Even when you don't have all the answers, keep going at at. Keep chipping away in small ways and the doors will open. Keep showing up and you will set yourself up to catch the winds of luck.
Believe in yourself. Believe in what you're doing and in your ability to do it. You may not have all the skills necessary. You may not have all the connections you need yet. You may not even have all the money to start with. All of those things can be acquired. Give yourself a chance and you will find a way.
Stay true to your values. Values are the guidepost, a guiding lighthouse in tough situations. They shine clear light when faced with tough choices. It becomes easy when you know what you truly stand for. That's when you find the courage and strength to persist and prevail.
Remember success can be measured in many ways. In a commercial enterprise, nothing sounds sweeter than the cha-ching of money coming in. Revenue, profit, growth - they all matter and are the easiest ways to measure success. Yet, success is so much more. For me, success has been in the incredible opportunity to work with and connect with some of the most talented people I know. It has been in gaining trust of our clients, their belief that we are a team they can rely on to make them soar. It has been in learning by working with many different organizations, each with its on unique culture and ethos. And sometimes, it has just been in seeing a team member going that extra mile because my passion rubbed off on him or her.
Ask for help. I have consistently found that when I have sought out help, people have helped. Often, I have found incredible mentors - old colleagues, friends, complete strangers - who have guided me and helped me along. There is inherent goodness in people. To paraphrase a quote - when you believe in yourself, the community invests in you.
Be grateful. All said and done, recognize that even just being in a position to choose to be an entrepreneur is a gift. There is so much that must align - a supportive family, the ability to take the financial risk, being at a place and time where there is opportunity. In the larger scheme of things and particularly when the chips are down, be grateful for the blessings in life that have allowed you to take this path.