I have a real problem with my ability to be proud.
We have a small start up based in rural New Zealand, our existing clients are ridiculously loyal and supportive, and the staff I work with are far far smarter than I can ever hope to be. And yet I constantly compare our company to others. I even joke about it. Part of it is ego but more of it is something else. Something I just realised the other week.
Running a start up can be hard and lonely, and when your news feed is full of the existing players winning contracts and tenders, you can beat yourself up about it – despite the fact you didn’t even put in a bid.
Basically, I always want to be the best and I want our products to be the best. Not minimally viable but flipping awesome. And yet as a bootstrapped company, we don’t have huge buffers for mistakes or bad decisions. So when I get one wrong (yes I get things wrong) it can circle through my head for days and weeks. And when this happens everything I hear or read about what other companies are doing and what products are getting released and what crazy funding round ceiling was just reached, I feel like I am failing. We are doing it wrong. Because why is that not us?
But odds are we probably aren’t. Really. Because it seems that statistically if you are a start up and you are surviving then already you are doing something right. Something to be proud of.
And this is what I realised the other night – it is not myself that I want to make proud, it‘s our clients, my staff, our community. Because just as much as I want to be proud of what we are doing, they want to be proud of it as well and that is why they have joined in the adventure in the first place.
Which means even though we are small it is important to remember what we are doing, why we are doing it, what we manage to pull off – be proud of it all. Because whether we make it massive or if we eventually fail and get it wrong – the fact we laid it out there and made things happen that weren’t just minimally viable, well that is flipping awesome.
And something I hope everyone involved can be proud of.