“Life is struggle.” I believe that within that quote lies the most important lesson in entrepreneurship: Embrace the struggle.”
― Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
I read this book while I was backpacking through Southeast Asia in the scorching heat, mosquitoes poking me in all directions, trying to figure out the next steps in my career.
Up until this point, I had been working through my career in Corporate Finance, not entirely sure where I was aiming to go.
Did I want to become a CFO? No…. Did I want to run financial reports and analysis for the next 20 years? Nope….. So what was it?
The hardest things about these things is we don’t know until we try things and take those first steps. Simple, right?
But after nearly a decade in this field, I wanted to try something different. When I woke up, I wasn’t feeling excited like I did when I went to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) or listen to “How I built this” podcasts. Then I discovered entrepreneurship.
In 2018, I decided to strike out on my own. I didn’t have much experience (if any) and wasn’t sure where to even begin. But I knew I was good at research, so away I went in reading everything. I mean…everything. Blogs, content, attending meetups, books, you name it.
Slowly, but surely, I was feeling more confident, that maybe this was possible. Don’t get me wrong, there were (and still are) days where I think, “This is just too hard.” But I remember that such a small percentage will ever take their hand at entrepreneurship, and even smaller who persevere and stay persistent.
As someone who wrestled, does BJJ and even competed in mixed martial arts, the hardest part is just taking those first steps. We’re ingrained to be afraid of the unknown. I know I was.
But this journey has taught me more than in my 10 years have in Corporate Finance. Its taught me to truly bootstrap, take on my challenges head on, and control my destiny. Because being afraid won’t take us far. Just like my first MMA competition, I was scared of what could happen physically to me — but I feared not competing at all even more.
Building confidence is a long, arduous process. It literally sometimes takes blood, sweat and tears. I’ve seen friends and family struggle through the process, questioning themselves whether the fight is worth it.
But in the end, I see them succeed in their goals. They embraced the struggle.
There are no shortcuts. Hard work is hard work, and confidence stems from that.
Embrace the struggle, and we’ll build confidence from there.