Being in a startup is like being in a rocky boat with a storm coming your way!
After spending years in big to mid-sized established organizations, I joined a startup and worked with them for more than three years. I must say it was a journey worth venturing into – full of learning and challenges.
For someone who is looking to feel a great sense of importance and accountability, this is a place to be. But it’s not just that, you have to master the art of being unflappable. Here are my three key learnings that I will take forward with me into future careers and personal challenges.
1Practice Positive Mindset
“Eliminate the mindset of can’t because you can do anything.” – Tony Horton
Entrepreneurs always start with a positive mindset, but it just takes one failure to jolt up your emotions and bring out the negative mode as soon as it senses defeat, failure, or threat. And if you don’t train your mind to practice positivity and calmness, it will soon affect the entire environment and trickle down to all the people who are part of the startup.
There’s always a solution to a problem, and you can always figure it out.
As soon as you remember this, you will feel a fire of unwavering strength within you. Being in a startup made me realize that no two days are the same; you don’t even know what the end of the day has in store for you. And that could cause a lot of uncertainty – what kept me sane was meditation.
The most important thing is to leave your ego behind and practice positivity.
2Game of Execution
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk
Act, don’t just think. Every idea is good because it’s the cycle of improvisation and failure that makes it brilliant. Unless you start, you won’t get into the game.
Flickr, the world’s most significant image and video hosting service, started as an online role-playing game that enabled users to buy, sell items, and interact in real-time with other users. It’s the constant evaluation and multiple pivots that will eventually lead you to the right direction.
Because iterations are essential and, as often advised by industry mentors, pivot – bounce back from failure until you find product-market fit.
The key is not to let significant pivots affect your morale and attitude. Not every entrepreneur can be a good manager, but if you know how to calmly and strategically maneuver hard times, you will have a positive work environment and fruitful days.
3Speak Your Mind
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Often the atmosphere in a startup can get stressful – and those circumstances can infuse negativity into the work environment if not managed wisely. Such situations can bring the worst in you, which could affect work and your relationship with your employees/peers.
Speak up, voice your concern, and clear the air – only then will you be able to give your 100%. Otherwise, the situation would consume you and affect your productivity.
I have experienced first-hand how effective communication can lead to better results.
Learning should never stop, and I’m grateful that I had a chance to work in a startup and get challenged daily. It’s when you do things differently; only then you open your mind to endless possibilities for both professional and personal growth.
In the end, all that matters is the takeaway. And as my grandfather used to say, it takes three P’s to be successful – Patience, Perseverance, and Practice.