This Feels Like The End But It’s Just a Moment

We all have that moment. That moment when the ceiling caves in, when there seems like there is no escape route in sight. When it looks like you’ve just lost everything that you have worked so hard to build. A moment that makes you question why you ever took a gamble on what was not so long ago just an idea.

A moment that venture capital investor Ben Horowitz calls in his book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, the “WFIO” moment. It may look like another dodgy acronym but it actually stands for: “We’re F!*ked, It’s Over”. Any entrepreneur can testify to feeling this — at least once, myself included.

You might not feel it immediately, you might never feel it, but for most entrepreneurs the WFIO moment exists.

The truth is you are going a hundred miles an hour building a business. You’re creating the product, cultivating a customer base, managing your staff and then something will happen that will throw everything you deemed to be urgent and a supposed “priority” out of the window. A moment that seems to be the end.

Nick Taranto co-founder of Plated

Nick Taranto is no stranger to this moment. He relaunched his company Plated on the same day that Hurricane Sandy hit New York. Nick described on Radiate what happened: “It flooded our warehouse. At the time we were using a refrigerated cargo container and that container got picked up by the storm surge and pulled out into the East River. The only reason we weren’t out of business before we were even in business was because of a power cord about the width of my thumb that kept it attached to the building.”

These moments aren’t just restricted to founders. James Rhee told us about the time he took over as CEO of Ashley Stewart. The company was on the brink of bankruptcy — its second time in just under three years. He felt the WFIO moment coming, took the dramatic steps to keep the business afloat and steered it away from liquidation — “I monetized the balance sheet by selling scrap metal to help fund payroll, that was kind of where things were,” he said.

These bizarrely-named moments are not to be taken lightly. They are the sink-or-swim moments in life.

How you survive and handle these moments says more about you and your leadership than the actual success of your company.

Acknowledge these moments, persevere and conquer the WFIO.

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