Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That is fine, but that was not really the hard thing about the situation.”
The hard thing is not setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is retrenching people when the company is going down.
The hard thing is look at someone in the eye and telling them they don’t have a job anymore, a job they desperately need.
The hard thing is not hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things.
The hard thing is not setting up an organisational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organisation that you just designed, to work as a team.
The hard thing is not dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.
Great entrepreneurs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what the great Alfred Chuang (legendary cofounder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture.”
Whenever I meet a successful entrepreneurs, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre entrepreneurs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations.
The great entrepreneurs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, “I didn’t quit.”
The hard thing about hard things is there is no formula for dealing with them.
Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes.
They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness. They are hard because your mind tells you to give up, but your heart say “I can’t.”
The role of an entrepreneur is to deal with the challenges, the Struggle.
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.
“Life is struggle.” I believe that within that quote lies the most important lesson in entrepreneurship: Embrace the struggle.
For every big mistake you make, there is a big lesson to learn, don’t miss the lesson.
Contribute to your business by spending time on asking and answering the hard questions.
Lastly have a good support structure, a good partner, or good friend who will see you during the struggle.
No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you. Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement. You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him.
The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong, when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call.
The struggle is part of the journey.