The first Angel Investor ever to believe in me, Mark Jeffries, taught me to celebrate the victories when they come.
When I closed my first ever round of non-3F (friends/family/fools) funding, Mark sent me the following lyric from the famous Australian band, Crowded House (yes my NZ mates, I know that Neil Finn is a Kiwi but Crowded House was from Melbourne 😛 ):
the taste of success only lasts a half an hour or less,
but it loves you when it comes….
There are a lot of challenging times in any start up company so you want to make sure you feel the sweet joy of your successes. They’ll power you up and give you hope when times get tough.
At the same time, don’t believe your own press. Just because you won this time, doesn’t mean that you did everything right. Mining victories for learning is much harder than cataloging the learning in losses. When we get a positive result, we humans tend to fool ourselves into thinking we did everything right in the lead up. The more you can learn from victories, the less you’ll be forced to learn from the losses, which will inevitably come….
When something brings us pleasure, we often pursue it to the point that it brings us pain and when something brings us pain, we often fight it so hard that it brings us even more pain. Equanimity comes from being able to be with whatever arises, moment to moment.
A mentor once told me that it’s a CEO’s job to remain calm, through the roller coaster ride that is start up life, so that your staff don’t panic. That said, your staff are (hopefully) not stupid. If you feel like shit and you’re faking ‘happy’ they’ll see right through you. You might even lose their trust. Being unauthentic is not a good long term relationship building tactic.
So what can we do instead?
The shortest distance between here and where you want to be isn’t always a straight line. It’s okay to feel pain. Sometimes it’s necessary to get where you want to go. Pretending that you’re not hurting isn’t going to help the pain go away. Actually allowing yourself to face frustration, sadness, anger, shame, or fear allows you to become conscious of the obstacles you face, internal and external. This insight deepens the learning and, the more you allow the learning to happen, the faster and more powerfully the shift will occur. When that change comes, you’ll experience a release that brings energy to make the next move towards success. Yes, failing really can be more of a power up than victory!
Let yourself feel each moment. That is a fulfilling life. Know that after the losses there will be victory once more. You never feel the same from moment to moment. Change is the only thing that’s permanent, especially in a start up 🙂
If you’re looking for someone to celebrate the victories, process the losses, and deepen the learning from both, contact me for a free envisioning session.