The last time I was ever down on myself about my startup was the day someone agreed with me.

Them: “What do you do?”

Me: “Well, I’ve got this small company that I started. It’s not really where I want it to be. I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. We don’t make much money. Nothing works.”

Them: “Yeah, that sounds like a dumb idea. Plus, it’s a horrible market and I know guys who are way smarter than you struggling in it. You’re better off doing something else.”

That burned.

When you sulk in front of other people, it’s usually because you’re fishing for some reassurance, a little coddling, some empathy. As a kid you run to your mom crying, she gives you a kiss and tells you everything is going to be better. You tell your friends you had a bad day, they tell you to hold your head up. You cry in your lovers arms, she consoles you.

It never occurred to me someone would respond with, “Yeah, you actually do suck.”

This made me really think about it…

  • The first person I hired
  • The second employee I hired
  • The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on
  • The first time I was able to make payroll
  • The first time I stared at $0 in the company bank account
  • The first time that person thanked me for believing in them
  • The press I’d gotten, the accolades, the encouragement

Those people all believed in me, why didn’t I? And who the hell was this person to dismiss it all!? 

This is the problem with self-defeat. Rather than pushing back against all the obstacles in front of you, you’re pushing back on all the people who are standing with you. That’s an easier battle to pick that you gain nothing from.

Pushback against the world.