There will be haters.
Those that are envious and jealous that you are taller, faster, smarter or make more money.
There are those that will kick down the ladder you are climbing so that you can’t beat them. So that you can’t win.
Those that ridiculously go out of their way to bring you down, emotionally.
Face it. Those haters aren’t your friends. They are the ones that make you second guess why you want to be a billionaire. The ones that say, when they see a man in a Ferrari “look at that douchebag” and not “that guys awesome! Wonder what he does?”
They are always angry. Never happy for you.
They are the evil leaches that suck you dry. Your kryptonite.
Lose them. Cut them lose. Free yourself and surround yourself with people who admire you. People who support you and help you achieve your dreams.
I want friends and only friends in my life. Ones that love and support me. That feel better about themselves when they are around me. Ones that can dish out high fives when I win. And are the best fucking shoulder to cry on when I lose.
You – friend – are awesome! Thank you for helping me reach my goals. I will always be grateful for your support and will stop at nothing to help you with your dreams.
There will be haters.
There seems to be this stigma that you need to have grown up in chaos to be a great entrepreneur. You’ve heard the stories — the Ivy League dropout, kid with the single alcoholic mother, and foster home veteran.
Here’s how Steve Blank puts it:
“What happens to people who can survive chaos on a daily basis for their entire lives? The outcome is a type of personality that, when stuff is melting down, bullets are flying, things are changing on a daily basis [...] the people who came from a dysfunctional family go ‘OK, it’s like a normal day for me”.
Chaos Breeds Nimbleness – So Does Order
I get it. Chaotic situations are steep learning curves that teach you to embrace the moments when shit hits the fan. Like when you’re racing to market with a half-assed product worried it will break all-the-time or when the venture funding ‘didn’t come through.’ When times are tough, there are no second chances — you need to be some amazing combination of stealthy, graceful, nimble, scrappy and strong.
It doesn’t take a traumatic childhood, however, to be all of those things and more. Learning to deal with chaos is an art form and acquired skill — not a birthright — that you can learn in your teens and well into your ‘20s, and ‘30s. This includes not having to throw a grenade into a situation when your company is out of a dip.
Chaos is Glamorized
We glamorize chaos, but there’s a definite downside. People who love chaos also have trouble appreciating when times are great. If there is no dysfunction happening around them they need to create it in order to feel ok about it. Because, all they know is chaos.
I have so much respect for the entrepreneurs in my life who have a crazy story to tell: bad childhood, no happy memories, sent to juvie, etc. Gosh, with all these dramatic lives I sometimes feel guilty that mine was so, well, perfect and that I should be punished for it.
Then I realize how completely silly I am for feeling that way. If anything, I should feel lucky. What empowers me is the fact that I grew up with it all — loving parents, a stable home environment, and an amazing education. I’ll be a great entrepreneur because of it, and I should feel proud. So here’s my story.
A Perfect Childhood = Ability To Be Great
I grew up as part of an awesome family with parents who gave me the world. I did the typical high school to university to grad school thing, and I was a straight A student. I traveled the world and even spent some time in Australia.
My parents epitomized stability. My dad was an entrepreneur before he retired, and my mom had a teaching career that spanned three decades. When my parents got married, they vowed to raise their kids to be great and pursue their dreams.
As an entrepreneur, I live my dreams every day, and you should damn well believe that nothing will stand in my way of aspiring to greatness. Not stereotypes, not chaos, not anything. My determination is one of my strongest assets — and I have my upbringing to thank for it.
So the answer is YES! You can be great – no chaos needed.
Mom and Dad – thank you for teaching my the ropes, explaining how to ‘read the play’ and letting me fall when I needed to.
As an entrepreneur I certainly look at the world differently. I try to create things to fill gaps in processes or learn what others have done wrong, fix them and try to do better. I see my place on this earth as more than someone who needs to make a living, be a supportive wife and maintain our population growth. What I have built is a lifestyle conducive to ‘having it all’. I am ok with saying I want it all, but I am PROUD to say that I have it all.
I have my health, my family, and my business (big three). I live in happiness, with challenges I accept as events that strengthen my big three. My life is exactly what I want it to be when I want it to be.
It started out like normal – whatever normal is. Great childhood, decent grades, university and then grad school. Boring. Then I discovered all the things I haven’t discovered. Travel, love, lust, risk, and companionship. I set out to purposely piss my parents off, or scare them (That’s what they think anyway) and got caught up in creating my space, a place that is mine, for me not you. That space is in my head. It’s dark, lonely at times, but it keeps me entertained. It is filled with color, danger, avoidance and excitement. This place grounds me, gives me hope and sets me free.
It has guided me to places I never thought imaginable. It has introduced me to possibilities I didn’t think existed. And it made me make incredible leaps to fulfill a dream my eighteen-year-old self thought she wanted: a husband, children, a successful business and a white picket fence.
Guess what? That eighteen year old girl had her bearings straight. Tough to believe, but those dreams and virtues she created for herself have all come to fruition. I set out on this journey to reach a destination I thought I came to, only to realize that beyond the white picket fence is the rest of the world and the other 2/3′s of my life sure to bring me new experiences, discoveries and new spaces to fill.
Here is to 2013 and the rest of this journey.
There is the rational you, the realistic you, the lets all jump-off-this-cliff-together you, and maybe something in the middle. As an entrepreneur, there is nothing constant. Typically, we start out facing steep precipices. With little knowledge, little experience and a boatload of an ego, we venture into this “you’ve only got one life to live, so do it all’ world to make the climb to the top. And on the way, we bump into hurdles, successes and things you can’t explain. But competition, not the one you have with others, but the internal kind, often slows us down or sends us in the wrong direction. Why do we put so much onus on ourselves to compete against who we were 2, 5, 10 years ago?
The answer is tricky. As a woman in her 30′s, for example, she will look back and wonder why she couldn’t maintain her 22 year old figure. After having children, sunbathing in the tropics, and leading a team of 100 +, of course time will show on her body. But shouldn’t the reward offset the current physical disapproval?
As a man in his mid 40′s, he will look back and wonder why he didn’t sell his startup for 35% more than he got. He will blame himself for this. He may venture to the mirror to uncover a bald spot. The grace of aging, again, appears on his body and he is unsatisfied, wanting to look like he did 10 years ago.
We are in constant competition with our old selves. A constant of always trying to be better than we were a year + ago. Now many would say this is healthy, this is natural and that we should always be improving. But it should never be in comparison to where we were at a point in time. The past has made you who you are today. Was that a cliche? Sure. But it’s right.
Competition can be healthy, and with oneself. But if it ever comes to the point of being scary or dangerous, whether that’s in monetary, physical health or relationship terms, it’s time to stop! You will always be in competition with yourself, to be a better, smarter, richer you. As you should. But don’t compete against your old self to get to the top. Embrace the person you were, and the one you are today. That’s the same one that will get over the precipice and past the hurdles.
I get asked this question at least three times a day.
I am five months pregnant and just starting out with my new project (and baby) Onboardly. There is no such thing as mat leave, especially for us small business ladies. I won’t be taking 12 months off and enjoying every single second of my childs first year. I won’t be there for every step, every word, every cry and every laugh. I realize this, and you know what? I am ok with it.
There’s a baby in here!
I hate being judged and questioned on how I am going to raise my child with both parents being busy entrepreneurs. We’ll figure it out.
No sleep. No time for a shower. No personal time. Sounds like running a business to me. I get it, a baby is life changing. If I didn’t know this, I wouldn’t have had this happen to me. We are prepared. We are excited. And, yes, we are scared sh*tless. Bring it.
Here is what I have done to prepare for the blessed arrival of our child:
- Smile and be thankful for such a gift
- Shop for maternity clothes
- Ask mom how she did it
- Hire a nanny for three days a week
- Organize a kick-ass home office
- Organize a kick-asser out-of-home office
- Read up on tips and tricks for newbie parents
- Hire a babysitter
- Laugh. Learn
If you are a woman who has successfully had children and ran a business at the same time – HIGH FIVE! Oh, and PLEASE leave some tips below.
I got this email from my mother this morning. She Cc’d me on this list followed by all her over 50 year old friends. I found it hilarious. See my reply to everyone at the bottom.
The other day I was sitting on the fence about whether or not I should hire someone full-time to fulfill a much needed role at my company Onboardly. It became painfully evident that I needed her, and needed her full-time. In the midst of building a house, postponing my wedding, attending two out of country weddings, traveling for work, and getting ready for my baby (Due this summer), there was just no way I could do all this work anymore. I emailed my fiancé to ask him what his thoughts were, and – to no surprise – he said go for it! Take the leap. (Context: The reason for getting his approval was because he was also launching his startup. Between the two of us, there is no ‘steady income’. I figured I should get his input on this.)
One of the 10 Most Influential Tweeters in Toronto – Klout.com