July 25, 2022

If you’re testing the water, you’re already a step ahead

I’m guessing you’ve had this experience at some point: you want to try something you’ve never done before, and those around you say, “But it will be too hard!” You want to take on some endeavor no one else has, and those same people say, “It’s too risky!” If we listen to these voices long enough, they can build an invisible wall around us, imprisoning our dreams.  

With regards to this topic, allow me to share my “pool theory”. 

Imagine your life as a road laid out in front of you. What do the risky moments look like? I think that most people would picture them as big potholes that anyone who walks too near will fall into. However, I like to imagine those risks as pools of water – despite having a fixed temperature, the water is too hot for some, but tolerable for others. Everyone who approaches the pool has a different experience. 

While most are fretting about what lies ahead on the road, those who are stepping forward and dipping their feet in the water will be the first to find their way across it. Those who can’t decide will be stuck right where they are.  

In my experience, most successful founders have this ability to overcome doubt and take the first step forward. They understand that the startup world is like a nonstop marathon without a fixed destination or even a clear sense of which direction to run towards. Moreover, every founder has their own unique experience, skills, and resources, meaning what one person says to another about taking on a new endeavor might not apply to you at all. If you don’t step in the water yourself, how will you know if you can ever get across it?  

Additionally, consider the fact that the current business model or product of the world’s most successful startups is often completely different from when those companies got started. These startup teams’ success is grounded in the fact that they were willing to keep trying when others weren’t. In doing so, they went farther than most without even knowing it. They then took their accumulated experience and new perspectives to revise their concept again and again and move on to the next key milestone.    

Founders, we’re in a bear market right now, and I know it looks like another big pothole in our road. While you’re listening to those around you grumble about how bad things are getting, step your foot in the pool and let yourself feel how hot that water actually is. You might discover it’s actually not so bad. And when things improve, the fortitude that you showed during the bear market will bring you and others like you the biggest success. Don’t let doubt kill your dreams!

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