Whoa. Tough piece to read. Can feel your thought process/elation/pain. Every entrepreneur can relate to those emotions and decision points. Every entrepreneur has doubts. The trick is figuring out when those doubts are insurmountable. Such a personal decision. The same opportunity can be attacked with conviction by one entrepreneur while the other decides it’s not worth it. I wonder if you would have taken the money if this were your first company in your 20's. With age and experience, you’ve got connections, a better sense of what works and what doesn’t, and know intimately how much energy it takes. Real life obligations make you consider more than yourself before fully dedicating. When you’re fresh out of college, nothing seems insurmountable. You can be selfish in your thinking. You generally don’t have a lot to lose financially or relationship wise. And you have no clue how hard it is going to be. But you lack perspective and the wisdom that comes from experience and the connections to help you succeed.
What you did took courage. It required deep reflection, both personally and with regard to the opportunity. It’s extra difficult when you know and love the rush of entrepreneurialism to hit the stop button. But it was the right decision for you and hopefully will inspire other entrepreneurs to think through all the variables, external and internal, before they leap. The personal challenge remains figuring out when that little doubting voice should win out or be crushed.