As a startup founder, you learn quickly that things don’t always happen as soon as you’d like. You don’t always know when you’re halfway there, one step away, five miles, etc. Therefore, what you need to get to where you want to go, from my perspective, is trust.
Trust is what keeps you going beyond your ego, peace of mind, patience, self-esteem, short-term pain or discomfort. It brings you through every dip and onto each new milestone. Trust is a matter of being part of something beyond yourself, knowing there’s a higher power guiding things in a good direction and understanding that the unknowable is a good thing that you just haven’t seen yet.
The Value of Patience
We live in a generation more technologically advanced than ever. Everything is at our fingertips and has to be faster and smarter. This way of living has programmed people to think the world goes out and gets you what you want. But in the startup world, you have to be the go-getter.
Therefore, discomfort, tolerance and patience are more of a challenge than ever. Since you don’t have to go out and hunt the food you eat, fetch your water from a well and travel on wagons for days on end, your natural tendency may be even more inclined (than previous generations) to give up before you can even get what you need. Yet, if you trust, you open up your mind beyond what’s easy and find the courage to keep on going.
Trust takes you beyond what anyone says or thinks, how your last attempt went, how you feel about yourself and the journey, how you feel about where you are now, and it focuses you on the next step of an unforeseen ladder. It focuses you in on that step with peace in your mind about the journey at hand and tranquility in your heart.
Here are three stages of obtaining trust, according to Chassidic philosophy, that you can apply to your business:
1. Know that everything happens for a reason.
The foundation of obtaining complete trust is knowing there’s a purpose to everything. As Einstein once said, a person can either live life as if everything that happens is a coincidence or everything that happens is a miracle. There’s a story of the Baal Shem Tov, who, when walking through a forest with his students, told one of them to pick up a leaf that fell from a tree nearby. The student realized the moisture on the leaf was hydrating a dried caterpillar. The Baal Shem Tov said if it was meant to be that the small leaf had to fall in order to save this tiny bug’s life, how much more so is it the case in the tiny details of your life?
The investor relations journey is a perfect example of this. Every investor I spoke to helped in the progress of my company. The critical assessment of where we are, what we need and what we could do better built us up. It’s not that this investor felt this way or that way. For us, the belief is that there’s this giant hand in the sky, guiding us on where to focus our attention next, and the investors were just the channel for that guidance. It doesn’t always work out this way, as investors, shareholders, etc., have their own intentions (usually focused on their bank accounts more than the mission statement of the company). But when receiving criticism, we took that into account as well.
2. Understand that everything that happens is good.
The investors who didn’t take us on in those early days led us to much bigger investments and helped us become a much more prepared and valuable company. They missed out, we built better, and we gained more. At the time, those investments seemed like a good thing for us. And they were. What was happening right then was good. Instead of looking at it as we missed out on an investor, we saw it as a person with expertise in startups telling us what to change, add and fix for the bigger investors we would be meeting in the future. One never suffers with such a perspective.
As Dr. Victor Frankl stated in the book Man’s Search For Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances...” A negative person shuts off the possibility of any good ever actually manifesting. When a person says to themselves that they can’t, they don’t even try — lowering their chances of success down to zero.
Within this step there are two levels: First, if it’s too good to be understood by the revealed eye, then realize that through it will come revealed good. In other words, it may not be obvious right now, but in the future, it will be. The second perspective is not just that everything will be good, but that everything is good — not just for the general population of humanity, but for the good that you want to manifest in your life.
3. See the big picture. The last level of trust is that everything that happens is a stroke of paint on a masterpiece that you are a crucial piece of. The details are much bigger than just you and your life; they are important for the whole masterpiece. What happens in your journey may not necessarily be about you or your company — it may be important for something way beyond you. So cherish the details, appreciate the way it is, and keep building toward a brighter future.
Now we can say looking back, “that’s why.” Trust that things are leading in a good direction — that the One running things has your best interests in mind no matter what, and that it’s all part of the journey. Trust allows you to connect to the possibility of bringing that potential good into reality, which in turn, allows you to move forward in that direction with all of your strengths and capabilities. When one is lacking the faith that things will work out, they don’t always give it all they have in trying to make it work. With trust, however, you can unlock reserves of strength and capabilities you never knew you had.