A good friend of mine recently shared with us a blog post (thanks KL for sharing) she wrote for her daughter in 2015. I went through it and I realized how much she had sacrificed for her daughter. Sometimes, the toughest part about being a parent is to see your child go through the pain of being sick, tired and grumpy and yet being completely helpless. This post also taught me many things as an entrepreneur, and I thought I would share some of them here today. (The bold points are directly copied and paste from her blog).
- Be grateful for what you have. We are already very fortunate and have much to be grateful for. There are people in worse plights and sufferings. There are people who have risen above their life challenges.
Indeed, many a times, we grumble about many things. As entrepreneurs, we face many ups and downs of business. Sometimes, business just doesn’t take off the way we want it to. Sometimes, our plans are completely thwarted because one guy half a world away took away everything by being one step ahead of us. However, always remember to be grateful for what we have. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to become an entrepreneur (we are a special breed). Rise above the challenges in business and in life, and eventually you will become successful. I’m grateful for my parents, who have treated me with so much care and concern over the many years. I’m grateful to my teachers and lecturers, who have taught me how to read, write and interpret data in order to become an entrepreneur today. I’m grateful to my dear brothers and mentors in business and in life, who have taught me all the ins and outs of business (sometimes through the hard way). I’m grateful for the founders who have allowed me to be part of your journey in your startup to provide whatever help I can to help your business grow exponentially.
- Mommy cannot take away your sufferings, but Mommy is very proud to see you growing on this journey. You learned to face your fears, and to celebrate small achievements.
“The highest reward for man’s dedication to excellence is not what one gets from it, but what he or she becomes through it” (Bill Britt). I remember when I was younger, I went to Japan for a gaming tourney. There, I met a Japanese friend who introduced to me this concept of kaizen (making small improvements consistently). That was one of the key reasons I became an entrepreneur, to be able to learn new things in a much shorter span of time compared to most of my peers, to push myself to become better everyday, to embody the kaizen philosophy. Remember, Rome was not built in one night, and the Apollo 11 moon mission was only on course 3% of the time. You don’t have to be perfect (because no one is), but just keep focusing on improving every day, every hour, every minute and every second of our lives and we will eventually achieve our dreams beyond our wildest imagination.
- You can allow yourself to become an inspiration, like so many others who have suffered different ordeals. Remain cheerful. There’s so much more you can be in life…you may look different. Everyone IS different. If you cannot lead a normal or ordinary life (for now), then live an extraordinary one.
“For every adversity there lies a seed of equal or greater opportunity” (Napoleon Hill). I’ve told the founders of the portfolio companies I invested in this many times. Allow yourself to be the inspiration. Many of us have went through the tough ordeal of entrepreneurship and starting a business (sometimes multiple times). As a VC, I always look for the growth in my founders. I try to send them for courses to improve themselves (sometimes from my own pocket, so LPs please don’t worry that I’m spending money from the fund for this). I believe in the “Law of the Lid”, which states that the business growth of the company will never exceed the overall growth of the entrepreneurs in it. I aim and aspire to grow every single moment. As an entrepreneur, you are different (as is everyone else around you). If you are willing to do what others are not willing to do, you will have what others will never have. If you cannot lead a normal life like the peers around you, then work so hard at the beginning and live an extraordinary life that everyone aspires to have.
I was very inspired by this post and it was also a punch in my stomach. I realized that I have been so out of touch with entrepreneurship after becoming a venture capitalist that I forgot what it was to be like as an entrepreneur. Time to let the entrepreneur spirit burn again.
P/s: I have started a new eCommerce business that is in the midst of planning stage now (adopting a venture builder model for my family office now). Will keep you all updated.