Resilience & Perseverance - #2
The two characteristics that reveal who you really are and what you're made of.
No… I’m not tired. I’m exhausted.
This is the type of exhaustion that a good nights sleep (or two) won’t cure.
It’s at a soul-level. The type of exhaustion that is both physical, mental, and spiritual.
It’s the type of exhaustion that goes beyond words. A lassitude that slows down time, where everything is heavy, and life feels constricted and constrained. The type of exhaustion that only your eyes can reveal as the crow’s feet of your gaze show the fatigue within.
My wife knows this look. She’s been here before. And she knows the real battle has just begun.
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, losses, or total failure.
Perseverance is the dedication to continue doing something despite difficulty, delay, or abject opposition.
I’ve trained thousands of corporate employees all over the world in agile, scrum, and lean startup techniques over the past decade+. I’ve met so many different types of people in my global travels and have been surprised on numerous occasions of how some wacky and unique idiosyncrasies of people’s personalities can play powerful roles in the success and failure of projects and businesses.
You want to know a type of person I’ve never met?
A deeply fatigued but resilient and persevering corporate employee.
The Corporate System is Great for Most
For the purposes of this post, I’m defining the “corporate system” as an institution that allows opportunities for individuals to provide value to a larger entity than themselves while being afforded the benefits of such an enveloping system that provides:
Stable income and ability to create financial projections of how to use ones salary for all aspects of personal life.
A consistent routine of work, with often little variation from week-to-week.
The ability for an employee to be solely responsible for his or her work within their sphere of influence and requirements of their job roles.
A clear pathway (sometimes) to corporate success as a simple function of doing your job well which allows for more financial rewards and “influence” within the company.
Little to zero personal financial risk.
Little to zero responsibility for the overall health of the company.
The ability to “turn it off” when the clock strikes 5:00PM and compartmentalize work from personal life.
The ability to quit at any time without considering how it effects the team or the larger corporate entity. A true blessing!
Why have I never met a deeply fatigued, persevering, and resilient corporate employee?
Simply because the corporate system should never require such an individual. The system itself is organized so that this isn’t an option. The system itself is built to bar this type of need. The corporate system would not survive if this was required.
It takes months and years to get deeply exhausted - You’d quit your job before this happens.
It takes months and years to be stubborn enough to persevere under precarious, risky, and variable conditions - You’d quit your job due to the daily unknown unknowns.
It takes months and years of hard-headedness and doggedness to fail, rise up, and try again - You’d be fired before you got your second or third chance.
The corporate system is devoid of fatigue, perseverance, and resilience because the corporate system was never built for such requirements.
Now, this isn’t a dig into the millions of corporate employees out there. This is merely an observation of the framework and models I’ve seen leveraged and built for the corporate experience. I know many successful, fulfilled, and purpose-driven individuals who thrive in such environments. Yes, there are tough days, tough weeks, and maybe even a tough month here and there, but I’ve never heard a corporate employee talk about a six year struggle to build the application or software product of their dreams where there were years of sleepless nights, doing a second mortgage on your house to stay afloat, and fighting depression and bone-deep exhaustion to cross the finish line.
In most cases of stress in the corporate world, we just push the date out. And all the meetings where scope and schedule was so important… just fade away. It’s just that easy.
Like I said in the definition of “corporate system:
It allows an opportunity for individuals to provide value to a large entity than themselves and affords them the benefits of the system.
This is the simple trade-off! You get paid to do work in a system that provides consistency. Sounds like a pretty great deal, for most.
I consider myself lucky. After three years of being a developer for a Fortune 50 company right out of high school, I learned quickly that I’m far more interested in building what I want to build and do it on my time and on my schedule. I never had a life-changing moment where I “realized” that I wanted to be an entrepreneur or exit myself from corporate America. My side hustles and side projects simply became far more important to me than waking up at the same time each day, driving to work to sit in a light gray half-cubicle, and churn out code for a technology platform I wasn’t particularly passionate about.
The Formula for Following Your Heart
“Do what you love, in the service of others, and you’ll always be fulfilled and sufficiently paid.” - Peter Saddington @agilepeter
This one of many personal quotes that I repeat often to myself and others. It is truly the formula for following your heart, and subsequently, finding a fulfilling career and lifestyle that is funded by your service to others.
This formula has led me through two decades of epic experiences, multiple startups, angel/venture investing, and helping thousands of people all over the world improve their personal and professional lives. I also got my 15 minutes of fame with a couple of Bitcoins and a Lamborghini!
The Time is Always Now
I’ve been listening to my network, my clients, my audience, and my subscribers.
You’ve made it clear to me: Many of you are looking for encouragement, support, help, and permission to try.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” - Master Yoda
Now is the time. This time. 2021. This year. Now. Today. Why not?
Did you know that the average age of a ‘startup’ founder is age 42?
Did you know the average age of a ‘successful’ startup founder is age 45?
Did you know that your highest chances for your business to succeed is in your late 50s?
You have enough experience. You have enough knowledge. You know just enough already to take your side-hustle and make it your main hustle.
And the best part? You can start today.
Resilience and Perseverance
I am simply at my best when I am fully utilized, working within my strengths, and completely dedicated and focused to the project at hand. The simple dedication of ‘never giving up’ and moving the needle just a bit each day is exactly the formula for long term success. This success comes at a cost. The cost is truly knowing what you’re made of.
Dedicating yourself to build your own future, to build your own life, and to take command of your time is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. It’ll take perseverance to trudge through the hard times and it’ll take resilience to get back on your feet after a setback. But these are the trials worth living through! These are the events that reveal what you’re really made of. These are the times you’ll never regret!
Why? Because you chose the path less traveled. You took personal responsibility for your time, your life, and your efforts seriously. You finally decided to roll your own, and live life according to your desires and dreams.
Learning to be resilient and learning to persevere against the odds is exactly what most people are looking for: The challenge and excitement of a lifetime.
But don’t be fooled. This will be your best life with the entire spectrum of emotions, experiences, highs and lows. You’ll be endeavoring on something meaningful, to you. You’ll work harder than you’ve ever worked before and stretch yourself way beyond your comfort zone. That’s ok, though. Because you’ll know what you’re really made of. You’ll be one of the few standing in the arena. You’ll be one of the few that really finished the race.
Most people go through life trying to de-risk everything and to get to their deathbed as ‘safely’ as possible.
This is simply a travesty.
The Best Investments
As an angel investor and venture capitalist, I have a very simple rubric that I use to weight the potential of an investment:
Resilience and perseverance.
My best investments in people so far have always been those that have a wonderful story. A compelling story in which (often), they were tired of the routine life, had an itch to scratch, left the corporate world, and almost died.
No, not really, but call it an ego-death.
They were destroyed. They hit rock-bottom. They were smashed in the face by some great obstacles, overcame, and persevered to the point of traction and revenue. These are the types of individuals I invest in. Do you want to know why my rubric is right?
Because I’ve failed. I’ve been destroyed. Multiple times. I’ve been bankrupt, been thrown out of my own company… and eventually rose to succeed.
Investing in a long-term behavior patterns of no-quit, constantly experimenting, and persevering through years of struggle are exactly the type of investments that make sense. You know he’s going to go the distance. You know she’ll never give up. You know he’s going to be fully responsible with the money. You know she’ll win and I want to be there when she does.
I’m biased. Very biased. Call it “survivorship bias” or even “selection bias.” It really doesn’t matter. I invest in people with disciplines like myself. I invest in perseverance and resilience.
As I’m completing deployment of my $10M Fund I, I’ll be looking for great investments for my Fund II.
Have you been grinding? Tell me a story.
Tell me a really good story.
All the best,