Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is a must-read for anybody who wants to start a business.
The whole book’s great, but there’s one section in particular that I love:
The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal.
The hard thing isn’t hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things.
The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed.
The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.
When starting TCF, there was a ton of problems every single day.
I dreamed of a future where they’d all be solved…
A future with more time to relax and sleep well…
What a dream, right?
But we were growing constantly…
And even after months spent solving problems, new ones just kept popping up.
With no end in sight — handling stress just became part of the job!
I realized that while before, it was just me and my struggles to handle 10 things. Now, I had 10 people on each job, with 10s of problems of their own!
And it hit me…
In spite of our success, and no matter how successful we’d ever become — problems would never disappear, they’d just morph into something new.
The only thing I could — and should! — change, was me!
I had to become comfortable with the stress.
This single mindset shift helped a lot as we scaled.
It changed my perspective and made me realize that “having problems” was completely normal — and sometimes even exciting!
I pictured myself as a character in a video game, solving challenges to move onto the next level.
You really need to come up with something in order to stay sane…
Managing campaigns that are so important to our partners in such a short period of time brings with it a lot of stress…
… and many of our partners have Xanax at hand during our calls!
It’s hard. It’s stressful. But we love it!
And I’m convinced that some of our big successes were due to this time-hardened skill that lets us feel comfortable with stress and problems.
What challenges have you conquered to pass on to the next level in the game?
And remember, to check out Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.