It has been quite a journey so far for our young entrepreneur. He still feels “lucky” to have the opportunity to pursue his passion at such a young age, but some of the realities of the startup life (listed below) have certainly challenged him. We call it the startup grind for a reason.
- Incremental pace of new product developments
- Working alone most of the time
- Lack of young entrepreneurial peers in the area
- Friends have gone to college in cities hours away
- General feeling of a lack of accomplishment (his opinion relative to his expectations)
He is in the startup grind. I’ve described the startup process as a month of jubilation at the launch and, hopefully, again at the end if there is a buyout event. These periods of jubilation are bookends of a process that includes several years on the roller coaster of long hours, accelerated education, frustration, exciting breakthroughs, tremendous financial pressure, periods of feeling isolated, wonderful new connections and relationships, and fatigue. It’s a lot to handle for a teenager and nearly impossible if not surrounded by true mentors, advisors, and resources for support.
He continues to display the resilience and drive necessary to push through the grind with his core values intact. While this experience so far has certainly taken a toll on him at times with periods of negativity and poor diet and exercise habits, he continues to assess, adjust and make good decisions. He knows he has much more to learn. My observation is that he has adapted many of the Lean Canvas concepts we teach in product development to his development as a man and entrepreneur. Pretty cool!
As Joshua, and others in the startup grind, continue(s) to survive and advance, his mother and I would like to share this prayer by General Douglas MacArthur that expresses much of our sentiment regarding our wish for him and all those on the entrepreneurial journey.
A Prayer For My Son
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee — and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, give him, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”
General Douglas MacArthur