Alternative start-up lessons: Appreciating the small wins

I never thought that launching my dream start up idea was going to be easy. I don’t think any fledgling entrepreneurs ever do. Anyone who thinks it’s an easy way out only needs to read any of the myriad of books out there. I’d read so many books to psyche myself up for taking the leap that it began to feel everyday that I might be less and less ready to contemplate taking such a step.

However, take the leap I did, and thus begun the most frustrating and rewarding 18 months of my life. What books can never fully reveal to you is how much you grow as an individual in the process of creating a start-up. Being right in the thick of it as I am, with so much of my time, money and inner resources poured into this dream of mine, I feel sufficiently experienced now to liken starting a business to entering into the greatest battle of wills with your ego and self-esteem. All preconceptions of who you are and how things should be, how long things will take, how well you should be able to do certain things are flung out of the window. I find myself a very different person to the person who started this journey, and you know what, even with the battle scars, I really like myself.

The books also never quite entered into detail about this feeling of loneliness that a startup entrepreneur feels as she (me) slowly and often with many missteps along the way (some comic and others not so funny) brings an idea into reality that up till now existed only in the hopeful depths of the heart. Not a word about the self-inflicted pressure to prove that your idea is solid and the fear that it was only just a dream which conversely live side by side with the courage and fire that gets you up and out of bed in the morning and allows you to keep moving forward.

I love what I’m building and the thought that there are others out there for whom I might be able to create something of value with this dream of mine keeps me moving forward, even on the days when I hesitate to take a step not knowing whether this will be the step that finally bursts my bubble.

This is what I’ve learnt this week. Every step I take forward as an entrepreneur, no matter how small, is a win. To keep walking forward we must learn to appreciate the small wins that happen everyday, almost every hour, but often go unrecognized in the day to day task of trying to get to wherever it is we want to go.

Take a moment and allow yourself to feel proud of what you’ve done, who you are, and how far you’ve come. Whether it’s just winning one more follower on twitter, penning a new article you are proud of, or having the feedback of one person saying how much they enjoy something you’ve created.

These might be moments that don’t seem that significant in the greater scheme of things given your goals and your to-do lists, but they could just be the tiny spark that ignites the engine that drives you forward by one little step.

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