A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about living for the moments that make up the peaks. I was driving to Los Angeles from San Francisco and I was listening to a Joel Osteen Audible tape. I was grinding hard and it was my first year in business, so the self-help books were quite necessary (still are, who are we kidding). I can still see the scenery around me as Joel began another chapter focused all on what he called the “peaks” of life. Talking about how we, entrepreneurs or no, live our entire lives for peaks. When in actuality, the moments that make up the peaks (the days, hours, minutes) make up 90% of our lives!
I remember thinking, ‘holy crap, that’s me!’ So fixated on the peak that I didn’t care about how miserable I was making myself to get there. Because like all of us, I believed the peak would be so great that it would make me forget all about the joy I sacrificed to get to that point.
But see, what I’ve come to unfortunately realize after 5 years of owning a business, is that when you enter in to the equity financed start-up world, your complete worth as a human being is based on numbers. Numbers, which entertainingly enough, are lumped into peaks… i.e, projections. Your life, your pay check, your employee’s stability, and your entire self-fucking-worth is based on a peak. A glaring spotlight: you either make it or you don’t. So you better hustle, like you’ve never hustled before.
See, what I believe people don’t talk openly enough about in the entrepreneurial start up world, is the emotional cost of owning a business. We hide, we smile and we put on an act to make everyone believe we’re living ‘the dream’. Funny enough, most of us are scraping by in hopes to one day hit our peak. The world, social media, mentors, advisors, funders, fans, customers, and even our family have conditioned us to not publicly voice anything except positivity, happiness and excitement. When in all actuality, life looks something like “I just closed 300 new accounts and spent the past 2 weeks crying more than I have in a good couple of years.” A weird juxtaposition of ‘I love life’ and ‘I think I’m dying’… but mostly dying.
When is the last time you heard someone openly say that? Probably never.
But here’s the thing, when is the last time you heard of 27-year-old packing a U-Haul and driving half way across the country to a city where she didn’t know a single soul to start a business she knew absolutely nothing about? Again, probably fucking never. I had a dream, a hope, a story, and a personal mission to help people find freedom in plant-based foods. Sure, at any moment my funders could the pull the plug on my business for not achieving a peak. But you know what I’ve also realized in these 5 years? Is that I am living for the moments, because I am physically pushing myself to the limits every single day. I am making decisions that I feel are ethically and morally correct, I am proving to myself that I can do things I never thought I could do, and I am building relationships that I never otherwise would have been able to build. While that doesn’t change the fact that my self-worth to others may be based on peaks, it reminds me that my self-worth is so much more than what people can actually see.
And I’m guessing yours is to…
I usually come full circle in my post and this one will be no different. Whether you are an entrepreneur or no, you will always find others who base your worth on peaks; from marriage to job promotions, cars to homes, you just won’t be able to get around it. I’ve come to slightly disagree with Joel, because I actually think we should all live for the peaks. Peaks push us outside of our comfort zone, peaks make us do things we did not think we could do, and peaks create the moments that make us who we are right now.
But most importantly, peaks or no, your self-worth is your self-worth.