Startup Journal - A founder's constant state of change
Updated: May 10, 2019
It seems like I’ve always been in a state of change. A new year has brought a new city, a new home, a new project, new connections... for as long as I can remember. I started being more conscious of this constant cycle of change 10 years ago when that year my beloved Oma left us, I swerved my career path and went to Amsterdam for a Greenpeace project, and we pulled a 180 and decided to have a baby. I realized I tend to have my biggest transitions every 5 years. Coming upon 2019-20, I knew in my gut this would be a big transition year for me before it even started. It’s yet to be seen how it takes shape!
When I was around 10 years old, we were on one of our epic all summer family road trips out west somewhere. We noticed a group near our campsite swinging off a rope that was tied around a giant tree hanging high out over the lake, so we stopped to watch. It looked terrifying.
My dad decided to jump first. I’m sure my sister would have been first in line had she been just a little older. At home, we usually found her fearlessly climbing up and sitting on top of a 15 foot street lamp in front of our house, among other dangerous past times.
I saw my dad and the other daring boys swing out far, and at the peak moment leap off the rope into the water distant below. I dug up the courage, gripped the rope, ran as fast as I could until there was no ground under my feet, swung out far, and then instead of leaping at the perfect moment with a clean line into the water, I just missed it - holding on too tight. I slid down the rope then dropped dramatically into the water. I had bleeding rope burns from the inside of my arm down my entire body.
This memory popped in my head this morning as I was reading Seth Godin’s Icarus Deception (yes, just heard about this book published 7 years ago, from our inspiring friend Judi Holler)
I’ve never been scared to run and jump (at least, in this area of my life!). I’ve actually painstakingly sought out risk, perhaps sometimes to my detriment. It’s where I thrive. It’s where life is interesting for me. I’ve never wanted the stuff of success, I find it actually weighs me down. I figured out a way to play the game within the game. In the “best experts tried and failed, no-one can successfully turn this around” space, corporations open doors otherwise closed and let you take big and new challenges once you’ve proven success in things you’ve never done before. This big stakes, all new, all in, all nighters, learning every moment with a beginner’s mindset to really figure out how to solve the hairy puzzle is where I liked to spend most of my days.
So I look for the cliff. I run, I jump, I seek that tingly feeling of the unknown, and even if I rope burn the whole way down, I don’t quit until I’ve reached the water. Sometimes I like to get myself so deep and quickly out of my comfort zone that I have no choice but to claw my way out. I actually used to daydream about being broke in a tiny apartment in the lower east side to get to a breaking point of internal innovation. (Seriously I hope no psychologists are reading this, please don’t tell me what it all means.)
But what just occurred to me this morning, is I’m in a completely new territory with my start up. I thought I was all in before, but this is a whole new ALL IN. I’m completely emotionally, financially, and physically in. I want this so bad it hurts. I feel like for the first time I can pour myself into something that will have a real social impact. I’ve invested everything. I have done the ground work learning the startup world, the sharing economy, making a whole new field of connections, running a startup by day and working a full time US job by night to bootstrap my startup, and moved to a different country so I don’t even begin to get complacent and to broaden my view.
It’s time to make a move though. A real move. Right now I’m out above the water, floating in the air, gripping the rope as hard as I can, figuring out my next move. If I jump too early - I hit the rocks below, a second late - it’s rope burn city, and if I get scared and just hang on I will be back where I started trying to catch my footing or worse my face up against the cliff trying to climb back up to safety.
This all plays into our move back to LA. Physical moves are always catalysts for change with us, and we are so looking to reconnect with everyone!! I feel the urgency. I’ve never planned this far ahead so I will be patient until we arrive in August. I have big ideas for this next chapter. Don’t be surprised if I tap you on the shoulder to join me. ❤️