The most important emotion for founders

Like most founders, I had unrealistic expectations about what it would actually be like to start a company.

Making things even harder for ourselves, we decided not to raise any money and opted to bootstrap the business on our own instead.

We came close to bankruptcy on a couple occasions and we had those days when we seriously put some thought towards potentially shutting it all down.

For us, cashflow was our oxygen and we were on life support daily. We nearly suffocated on several occasions.

Fast forward two and half years later and we’re still alive. We achieved profitability at the beginning of this year and we’re growing at a nice pace.

To this day, life has an entrepreneur is anything but dull.

As Derek Halpern illustrates in the image above, entrepreneurship is a turbulent ride.

One of the better quotes I’ve heard on the subject came from a keynote at a conference I recently attended:

“Probably the most sane thing you can do as a startup founder is admit how hard it can be at times.” — Leo Widrich

So what’s a startup founder to do?

Practice gratitude daily.

Gratitude is the most important emotion for startup founders.

“When you’re grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”- Tony Robbins

Fear is an incredible emotion because when you’re grateful you can’t be frustrated, angry, or afraid.

It’s actually anger and fear that hold most founders and people back and I know this better than most.

Every day after waking up, I write in a gratitude journal about three things I’m grateful for. I also do a quick 10–15 minute gratitude mediation.

This helps me keep calm, focused, and have perspective when things don’t go according to plan.

It’s very easy as a founder to be constantly chasing ambitious goals and running towards the horizon. But it’s important to stop from time to time and take a look behind you.

It’s far too easy to get frustrated by how much further you still have to go but instead spend a couple minutes each day being grateful for how far you’ve come.

Be grateful for your progress and focus on being better today than you were yesterday.

As founders, we have our fair share of “bad days.” But it’s important to be grateful for these bad days as well.

My cofounder said it best, “Some people would kill to have our bad days.”

And he’s right.

Lastly, as founders we must learn to enjoy the journey. It isn’t so much about the goal after all. It’s more about becoming the type of company or becoming the type of person that’s actually capable of achieving your goals.