Build confidence by embracing the struggles

Embrace the struggle

“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.

Dear Me: Sometimes you bite the bullet

life struggles

Dear Me,

Sometimes, things don’t go your way. Sometimes, they end in another direction than the one you anticipated. But hey, that’s life and the trajectory towards happiness and fulfillment has never been linear.

You chase towards your goals, you have lofty expectations, and you plan to land that huge client who will bring in the revenues.

And then you don’t.

But it’s okay. Sometimes you just bite the bullet. Sometimes, sh*t happens and you have to just move forward.

It’s not easy – it never has been. But letting those things simmer inside your head isn’t healthy for you. You know what will happen if you do; you end up loafing around. And then you realize, a week or more has passed and you end up in the same spot.

So yeah, sometimes it doesn’t go your way. But that’s okay. Take the opportunity to think through what matters to you, what makes you happy and what kind of life you want to live.

Bite the bullet, and move forward now.

Every one has a story

Every one has a story

Every one has a story
Every one has a story

Only the Front

Throughout my career, when I worked with others in the office I had only one value that I wanted to uphold – to not make any one’s life any more difficult than it may already be for them. I wasn’t always perfect in this regards, and I always felt terrible when I messed up.

I didn’t know their story, what they were personally going through or the things they had to endure up to this point. Sure, we might not have agreed on certain points or issues. But regardless, I always wanted to make sure I wasn’t the reason they went home unhappy. And if I did, I’m deeply sorry.

So why did people treat others the way they did? Did they have something to release? Did they also carry a heavy burden? I grew up in a very difficult, challenging environment that made question life and people. Throughout elementary, middle and high school, I would put a smile on my face. Every. Single. Day. No one knew I was deeply angry and sad at the world.

Now and Forward

For those who have endured similar struggles, know that we have the power to make sure we don’t place the same kinds of burden onto others. It’s tough, I know. Why did I go through this when no one else had to? I asked those very same questions every day. But nothing changes from thinking this way. Rather, we move forward, find our own happiness and in the process, bring a smile to others where we can. It won’t always be easy (nothing ever truly is), but you can do it. We can do it.

If you found this post interesting, please send me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Life is a short one and while we are here, I’m hoping we can help make it a better place. One day at a time.