In startup circles,
there is wide-spread worship
The lure of building a company worth $1 billion,
known as a “unicorn,”
we often hear people demean survival,
with phrases like “mere survival is not enough,
we must thrive!”
The reality is that building a company
often feels like being in a war.
Not because we’re in a competition,
but because we get hurt,
often to significant degrees.
And what I find interesting
is that when I help founders recover
from these emotional wounds,
I often see them naturally grow—
and their relationships.
The kind of growth made possible
precisely because they got hurt.
Just as our muscles grow
by getting hurt
perhaps we can also grow,
By telling the God of death,
We appreciate growth
when we grow on our timeline
in the direction we want to grow.
If we force others’ growth
to satisfy our own need for contribution,
no matter how good our intentions,
it’ll likely be unappreciated.
others may even rebel
and do exactly the opposite of what we wish.
What a waste of time and effort, no?
There’s a meme on how lobsters grow
by shedding their rigid shell and producing a new one.
It points out that before it can grow,
a lobster feels stress against their shell.
Thus, the moral of the story is:
1) Treating stress as a problem to be solved is to prevent growth.
2) Stress can be a sign of growth.
What it skims through, though,
is how lobsters need a rock
to protect itself from predators
before it can shed its shell.
So if our client, employee, boss, or partner
seems to be unwilling to let go of their shell,
or to grow & innovate,
the question isn’t “Why are they being so rigid?!”
It’s “Do we have a rock in place?”
Let me know if you’re willing to be a rock.