On Tough Choices
This Tuesday, for the second time in my life, I wrote a check that effectively wiped my liquid capital to $0. That check is the first operating capital for Poln, my 3rd company in the last 4 years.
In the grand scheme of things, it is by no means a significant amount, but I did it to prove to myself and especially those around me that I believe in our mission to make worldwide advertising effective for small/medium retailers. A moon shot goal? Yes. Is it still worth pursuing? Absolutely yes.
Small and medium businesses make up the core of the American economy. Big companies will always exist. But the people running those often corporations are not the ones who started them. They got that big because of their passionate founders.
But, I want to take a moment and mention something to all those going through a tough time — it is not easy. Starting a company will change you as a human being. Pursuing your dream will challenge everything you’ve been taught in life. But at the end of the day, it will teach you an important life lesson — the value of good people. Only those who actually care about you will push you. They will push you until you are ready to fall. Why? Because those who don’t will scare you into being content. Why? Because they won’t want to support you when you do fall.
But people who do care, will never let you fall. They will push you to greatness. They will see things that you have never seen before. They will challenge every intermediate step. They will never challenge your big picture vision. They will dream with you. They will show you a future that is terrifyingly simple and yet at the same time, a journey that is filled with land mines. In order to survive them, you have to be strong. Cover your heart and brain with wartime armor. And then open your eyes and run like hell. But if you get a second, just a brief one, look to your left and look to your right. The people running with you are the same people that promised you that you would never be alone. They are the people that promised you that you will never fall. And for the first time, you’ll realize that people do care about you.
At the end of the day, your past really should not matter. Everyone, myself included, has made really hard decisions. It’s not easy alienating family or moving on from those you thought were going to be a part of your life till the day you die. Everyone has to make that call. I did. I continue to. Thankfully, those personal decisions are few and far between. But, they exist.
No one starts companies, breaks up with their loved or supposed loved ones for fun. Do you really think running a business is easy? Absolutely not. Do you really think making hard choices is easy? Absolutely not. Do you really think that you can do it? That answer better be yes. Because only then, does it makes sense.
Entrepreneurship is a strange thing. Some days, you make easy decisions, such as what gift to send a new client. Other days, you go home, breathe for a minute and question everything. But — was it worth it? Think about the last tough decision you made? I can almost guarantee you that you are in a better place because of it.
Think about the life around you. What if your job went away? What if your partner went away? Will you better or worse because of it? If the answer is that you will be better — then pursue your dream. Don’t let the journey scare you. And more importantly — don’t ever regret it. If your job and partner stayed and you will be happy — then fight for what you have.
These decisions will help you make a better manager. These decisions will help you pursue your dream. More importantly, these decisions will help you, for the first time, be you.
No one said it would be easy. It’s not worth it. Nothing in life is worth having. But it is always worth earning. The rest is up to you.