The Hunt, The Fear, The Struggle, and The Peace

The journey of an entrepreneur from my perspective.

Every year on my birthday I reread “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” written by Ben Horowitz. It’s by far my favorite book and I’ve found it provides lessons that apply to all aspects of life.

Ben also wrote a famous post titled “The Struggle”. The Struggle portrays a portion of the entrepreneurial journey in painful detail. Many of the emotions are hard to relate to unless you’ve been through them yourself. Being someone who is rather obsessed with funnels and processes I began to wonder what the broader entrepreneurial journey may look like. What steps comes before and after The Struggle?

Below I’ve tried to channel my inner Horowitz. I definitely don’t do him justice but in true Horowitz fashion I’ll kick things off with a lyric from my favorite artist, Nas…

A lot of times it seems like, you ain’t gon’ make it where you wanna be in life
But, yo if you got a plan, believe me you gon’ get there
You gon’ get everything you ever wanted baby
That’s my word
- Nas, Nothing Lasts Forever

Step #1: The Hunt

Some people believe that incredible ideas will simply appear and all you have to do is execute to make your mark on the world. I strongly disagree with that. I believe you have to hunt for an idea and thus The Hunt is the first step of the entrepreneurial journey…

The Hunt is when you decide to notice the world differently.

The Hunt is when you question every action you take in a day and try to envision a better way.

The Hunt is when you become curious about the day-to-day routines of every person you know.

The Hunt is when you research industries that are attracting the big bucks.

The Hunt is when you realize you shouldn’t chase the bubble and that you should follow what you naturally love.

The Hunt is when you document every idea that comes into your head and you sketch out what the future may look like if you’re thing existed.

The Hunt is when you purchase every domain and grab every Twitter handle available.

The Hunt is when you begin to name the thing you’re thinking about.

The Hunt is when you’ve opened your mind to discovering a new path that you may leap towards.

The Hunt is when you’re readying yourself to bet on something for the next decade of your life.

I think most people love The Hunt. Most people love being researchers and attempting to find an interesting idea that they can build. I also think that the vast majority of people struggle to get into this gear and consciously make an effort to observe the world around them. Many of us have had that “why didn’t I think of that!” moment and I think that’s a symptom of not being able to slip into The Hunt.

Next comes The Fear

The Fear

The Fear is when you’ve found your idea.

The Fear is when you’ve tested it and gotten positive feedback.

The Fear is when you’ve researched your idea and realized that you could make it happen.

The Fear is when you realize that you were in fact born to make this thing happen.

The Fear is when you’re terrified that you’ll read a headline of someone else launching your idea.

The Fear is when you know that you’re at the fork in the road and you have to decide.

The Fear is when you know that taking the leap is truly the only way to make this thing happen.

The Fear is when you tally up everything in you’re life that you’re willing to lose in case you’re wrong.

The Fear is when you surprise yourself by realizing how many things you’re not willing to trade.

The Fear is when you consider what restarting your life may look like if you’re wrong.

The Fear is when you realize that your window of opportunity is closing and it’s entirely you’re own fault.

I’m confident saying that any body who has ever considered building something has gone through a version of The Fear. It doesn’t matter if you’re Elon Musk or the guy next door. The Fear is real and it doesn’t discriminate.

Next up is The Struggle

The Struggle

This section is a copy of Ben Horowitz’s “The Struggle”. Ben describes this part of the journey perfectly.

The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place.

The Struggle is when people ask you why you don’t quit and you don’t know the answer.

The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right.

The Struggle is when food loses its taste.

The Struggle is when you don’t believe you should be CEO of your company. The Struggle is when you know that you are in over your head and you know that you cannot be replaced. The Struggle is when everybody thinks you are an idiot, but nobody will fire you. The Struggle is where self-doubt becomes self-hatred.

The Struggle is when you are having a conversation with someone and you can’t hear a word that they are saying because all you can hear is The Struggle.

The Struggle is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness.

The Struggle is when you go on vacation to feel better and you feel worse.

The Struggle is when you are surrounded by people and you are all alone. The Struggle has no mercy.

The Struggle is the land of broken promises and crushed dreams. The Struggle is a cold sweat. The Struggle is where your guts boil so much that you feel like you are going to spit blood.

The Struggle is not failure, but it causes failure. Especially if you are weak. Always if you are weak.

Most people are not strong enough.

Every great entrepreneur from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg went through The Struggle and struggle they did, so you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it. You may not make it. That is why it is The Struggle.

The Struggle is where greatness comes from.

I don’t think the journey ends at The Struggle. At least I hope it doesn’t. Personally, I haven’t experienced what comes after The Struggle. I have listened to and read thousands of founder stories so I could probably guess but that feels disingenuous. However, if I were to take a guess at what the title of the final chapter would be I think “The Peace” feels right. Regardless of whether or not the venture was successful, I believe most entrepreneurs find peace in what they were chasing. They opened themselves to The Hunt, they extinguished The Fear, and they endured The Struggle. They have earned peace of mind knowing they believed in themselves, their idea, and they went for it and at the end of the day that’s all you can strive for in my books.

Thanks for reading!