One of the thing you have to do again and again, as a startup founder, is to lay your dream raw, on the table, in front of a group of strong-willed people who will critique it. They may be advisors, investors, potential customers… But you will have to do this constantly.
You’ll have to do this no matter which state the company is in — fresh from a new release that is picking up steam, in a lull as you struggle to bring users back, as you’re undergoing a pivot and are still struggling to find the right words to talk about what you want to do…
You’ll have to do this no matter which emotional state you’re in.
These meetings are often scheduled weeks in advance and each of them could be the opportunity that unlocks the next stage for you.
You have to show up no matter what.
It’s hard. You can do it by building an armor that lets you hold strong when someone decides to take a stab at your dream. Or you can show up as your authentic, vulnerable self. Accepting that pain will be a part of the journey.
As a founder — as a human — I’ve learned that I can only be successful if I show up without artifice. I therefore lay my dream raw, for you to examine and critique. I’m there to listen and learn… and if your advice hurts I will accept the pain and leverage my support network to get back up.
If you sit across from a founder and are called to critique what they present, please be fully honest. Please tell it like you see it. That’s why we seek your advice. But please, also, bring in that human touch and recognize the challenge the person across the table might have to face.
And to the founders out there, kudos for showing up.