Five lessons for entrepreneurs on the low moments

One of the best pieces of advice I never had is this: cherish your low moments because those are the ones that define you.

You don’t get to go through a startup experience without coming out with a few scars.  To say the least.  As the last 8 years of being an entrepreneur have taught me, what makes you who you are is what you do in those low moments.

Here’s some of my key lessons:

1.     Low moments reveal who is really there for you and for the right reasons

From investors to colleagues, friends, girlfriends etc.  Those that get disappointed by the fact that you are going through a rough patch, those that make it rougher by losing confidence, starting to complain, pick holes in everything you say or do, tell you the classic ‘told you so’ and tell you all the things you should have done differently: those are the people who you now know you need to move away from. And events like these are great in weeding those people out surprisingly quickly. The result I’ve found is painful and intense, but always for the better

2.     Low moments prepare you for success

The make-up of a winner or a loser is not what you do when you’re up but what you do when you’re down. Entrepreneurship is tough, it’s lonely and can break you.  Your test will come when things are not going as well as they should. And boy when it rains it pours.  Learning to deal with this makes you tougher and prepares you for the kill when the storm subsides. Hang in there. You’re refueling for the last run, and that’s the only one that really counts.

3.     Low moments reveal peoples’ true personality

Here’s is a mistake I’ve made too many times: thinking that I can change people. The reality is people don’t really change.. At best they just adjust their behaviour, conform to a surrounding to fit in.  Character is deeply rooted in people from a young age and doesn’t change. By character i mean fundamental traits to ones personality, not their behaviour. So for example: if someone is small-minded they will always be come what may. If someone is big hearted and generous they will always be – no form of hardship will change that. If someone is a jealous person or someone who fundamentally has an evil streak in them, they  always will.  And low moments bring these personalities to life better than any psychometric test, any interview or any other challenge .. it just wipes the froth off the cappuccino, so you can see the person naked, bare and unprotected. Their true personality is revealed

4.     Low moments have a great thing about them: there’s only one way to go. UP

True entrepreneurs and true fighters love low moments in part because there’s more to look forward to; a brighter road ahead. Winston Churchill famously said the best thing about a hangover is that your day keeps getting better 🙂 Its the same  when you are on the low. Like a hangover, It hurts, you feel like sh*t, but then you have so much more to look forward to and so much to do on the way up.

5.     Low moments make you more human

Have you ever met someone who’s never had a tough day in their life? I have. Unfortunately. Too many. And every time I see one I want to puke. You can smell them from the distance. They are (usually not always) detached from reality, devoid of humility, empathy and understanding.  They live in their own little self-absorbed bubble. They are the annoying pr*cks you see swaggering around flashing other people’s money. Completely oblivious to how ridiculous they look.  They are the ones you see and instantly think “what an idiot”

So if you’re going through a tough patch – smile. You’ve just got one step further away from being like that idiot.

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