I established two startups in the course of three years. I closed down my first company in 2018 after around a year of operation and my second startup is about to disappear into the annals of history.
It must hurt a lot, right? But I’m so glad that I failed and failed fast because it took me only three years to realize that I don’t want to be an entrepreneur, no matter how amazing it may sound.
I still clearly remember my “eureka moment”. I was at home, tired of working my 9-5 job—which I had kept for seven years and was my dream job, until it wasn’t.
There is a long story behind what built up to that moment, and I’m going to write about it in the next posts of this series.
But for now, just know that I decided to quit and set out on a mission to change the world. And, mind you, I wasn’t living in my home country at the time.
In a matter of weeks, I packed up and went back to my country, which always seemed like a startup utopia to me—an untapped market that was yearning for my idea. I was about to quench that thirst.
As soon as I arrived home, I went on a shopping spree and bought every popular book on the shelves about success and entrepreneurship.
I could relate to every single sentence in those books. I was so motivated that I felt I could move mountains. I kept daydreaming about my own company and the legacy that I was going to leave behind.
I was morphing into a new person with new passions, new needs, new ambitions, and new perspectives.
In hindsight, I can say that I was living someone else’s dreams in my mind without knowing whether they’ll feel as good in real life or if I’m ready, or even want to make similar sacrifices to realize them—and that was the problem.
I was trying to fit myself into “my” new dreams instead of fitting my dreams into the reality of who I was and who I wanted to be.
That is why everything about launching and running my own business seemed so sweet at first.
I mean who doesn’t want to be called a CEO, even if it’s the CEO of a one-man company? Who doesn’t want to have a flexible schedule and freedom of time and place to make money doing what he or she loves?
There’s no denying that it all seems wonderful, but the point is whether the “whole” experience and the “entire” package of entrepreneurship is what you love.
The fruits of entrepreneurship may look tasty, but we should ask ourselves what it takes to produce such fruits and whether we enjoy gardening or not!
We are all different, and that’s beautiful. As GoPro’s founder Nick Woodman puts it: “Your passions are a bit like your fingerprints: Everybody has them; everybody’s are different.”
There is no right or wrong. It’s just the matter of our personal choices and values and what makes “us” feel good, not what someone else says feels good or should feel good.
I’m all for exploring different paths to grow as a human being and better cherish our true passions, but we should eventually channel our passions into a meaningful endeavor if we want to live a fulfilling life.
I believe our passions are always there and have their roots in our personalities and values. If we work on ourselves to determine the right values that align with our personal characteristics, our real passions emerge naturally.
If we get to know ourselves well, we will be able to get past the “illusion” of who we are and who we want to be more quickly and more easily.
Working for others and running one’s own business can both be rewarding and worthwhile if the path we choose is the result of a conscious decision and pursued with noble intentions.
You may find happiness by establishing a company like Apple or you may find happiness by working for Apple, or any other company that shares your values.
Sunrise and sunset are both beautiful. If you want to watch the sunrise, you should move toward the east. If you like the sunset more, you should move in the opposite direction. It’s that simple, but sometimes we love to complicate things.
I had two aha moments in the past several years—one was when I thought entrepreneurship is for me and the second one was when I realized that it’s not for me. I’m grateful for both of them. I learned a lot along the way.
The Happily Failed Founder series was born out of a passion to help aspirant entrepreneurs get more smoothly and faster to the point where they would either say: “Enough is enough” or “That’s what I truly want”.
Join us in this never-ending journey of self-awareness to better realize which way is your favorite, what each of them looks like in close-up, and how to enjoy the ride more!