Pass On What You Have Learned

When you first go to your family and your friends and tell them you are starting up a new business. Often, they will wish you good luck; say they believe in you (even if they don’t.). Strange enough, when I told my friends and family that I’m starting a business, they did believe in me, when I told them that I would be building that business in the infamous Founder Institute and explained what type of trials the Institute would probably put me through, even my own father cautioned me against it. Starting a business, successful or otherwise, is a daunting task, but doing it the Founder Institute way? That is nightmarish. If you make it through, you’ll be better for it. But, this program, it can break you. It tries to break you. It will break you. The real question is, can you stand up and put yourself back together so you can keep going? Even as it hammers you into the ground week after week.

I was in a room with people 40 years my senior. People who had three successful businesses under their belts or have experience as an executive at a major company or are a MD PhD. These are people who didn’t make it through this program. One big thing they teach you at FI is that you need tenacity and passion more than anything else, more than intelligence, or education, or experience. FI is beyond difficult, but the reward should you make it through, is beyond compare. I’m not talking about the partnerships, or the discounts or the networks; I’m talking about something not so easily measured. You walk out of FI with a hardened mental fortitude unlike any other. I don’t care how tough you think you are going into FI, you could have the mental fortitude of a Navy SEAL going in. FI is going to put pressure on you and because of that, your fortitude will increase. Maybe by a little, maybe by a lot, but it will increase. The most important things you learn at FI will be the things you learn about yourself. For me, I learned it is okay to submit work that is not perfect. I’m a perfectionist by nature. I’m OCD and ADHD. I think a million steps ahead and plot out every possibility.

The most difficult moments in FI for me were the times where I had to submit something that was not “the best” or “100% accurate”. I don’t like inaccuracies; I hate posting unfinished works for the world to see. However, Founder Institute taught me that sometimes you have to take the plunge and show people unfinished work. Work that you know has mistakes in it. That you need to show your progress and trust that the people who see the work you’ve done will also be able to see the potential. Am I good at doing that yet? HELL NO! I’m I doing it? Oh yes. HELL YES. I would not have graduated otherwise. My assignment fields would be blank because I was waiting to show the final product. Yet, the whole point of FI is that your final product probably won’t be ready before graduation, and that is okay. FI wants you to show the progress you’ve made. Show the journey you’ve taken. They want you to hike up the mountain and text them selfie’s every few minutes on your 3-month long climb to basecamp (not the summit, graduation is just basecamp). Not glamorous selfie’s. Cringe worthy, gritty, painful to look at selfie’s. Photoshop Touchups and Instagram Filter users need not apply. I took my selfie’s but I didn’t want to share them with everyone. FI had to pry those selfie’s out of my cold dead hands.

Now the world can see the rough, incomplete and ugly looking work of mine. I need to trust that they can see the X-Wing Fighter in the swamp submerged beneath all the grime. That they can trust me that when I pull out that disgusting filth covered starship wreck and place it before them, they can see it for the truly miraculous moment it is. It is more than just taking risks, or being comfortable with the outcome of those risks (whatever they may be). It is about being confident that the risk you are taking is worth it, despite what others may think.