Growing up in the startup world is one of the most emotionally painful things known to mankind. I have come to believe. I understand why business people are known to be hard hearted. Because if you open your heart you’ll just cry all the time, for all the things you have to do- which is your job to do, and you have to. I get it.
But I don’t want to be that person. That hard hearted person. I’m not that person. So recently, I just feel a lot of pain, all the time. Like Friday, when I found out we actually had to let people go, and it happened to be on Diwali. DIWALI. Accidentally on Diwali. Letting people go is never easy. And then you found out you accidentally did it on Diwali. I spent Friday night puking/trying to sleep it off.
Realizing you have to let co founders go? That were your friends from college, that helped build a business with you? But it’s just that the business grew and they did not keep up? How do you live with that? How do you even make that call? I mean you know on paper it’s the right decision but…seriously? Isn’t it easier to just be…numb?
Except it’s not, because I tried that, and it doesn’t work. I mean it works, but it’s not the answer. At least not the answer for me. The point in life is not to be numb. The point in life is to live.
I think when you decide you never want to be that person that just doesn’t have emotion, that is numb all the time, AND you still want to grow with your startup, you basically sign up for a lot of emotional trauma. I think the biggest skill is learning how to forgive yourself. You are going to make mistakes, and the higher up you go, the more far reaching the consequences. That’s a fact. So things like this will keep happening. All you can do is apologize to whoever you need to, note down what you messed up on, and move on. That’s about it. The hard thing about hard things is that they are hard for a reason and its why very few people sign up to run the show. To be the decision maker that makes THAT call. The tough call. That needs to be done. I’m getting better at knowing it’s the right thing to do. Dealing with the consequences though, is still tough.
I think the best policy I’ve decided is honesty. Absolute and complete honesty with everyone involved. Because that’s the only way to do that thing that you signed up for- that vision of the world you still want to create. Honesty sucks, but it’s the short term bad news for long term gain. Being honest, especially with yourself (and as a result, everyone else) is one of the hardest things to do.
But I think if you can master the honesty thing, that’s what it means to grow up.