Last week, I had the privilege of catching up with my first boss, CH whom I worked for in Philadelphia circa 2006.
He has quite a reputation in the tech scene!
Worked in 12 tech startups.
Sold off 3.
Last one made him 13.8 million USD.
CH had a huge influence on many of my career decisions including quitting my day job as a programmer (yes surprise surprise!) to pursue my dream job as a professional speaker!
During dinner, he told his wife that I was the only intern out of 50 who will actively ask him out for meals so that I can pick his brain.
I will even record our conversations so that I can re-listen to his advice to me.
And yes, old habits die hard. I did that again when we met a few days ago in Singapore.
(Fun Fact: The last time he visited Singapore was when he was 24! He is 59 this year!)
You are in for a treat because he taught me three unspoken truths that will toughen you up mentally on your way to the top.
I. EXPECT TO FAIL (A LOT).
Failure is part of the game to success. You will fail. Your people will fail you at some point. So will your customers.
Acknowledging the inevitable is the first step in dealing with your fear of failure. It frees you from worrying or getting upset when you are faced with problems big or small.
II. YOU CAN’T CALM A STORM SO STOP TRYING.
What you can do is to calm yourself. The storm will pass.
So when you are hit with a problem (big or small), stop wasting energy being emotional about it.
Don’t waste time to bitch, moan or whine.
Don’t even lay blame.
Instead, treat every failure as feedback.
Spend your energy to put out the fire and then conduct an “After Action Review”.
Make sure you put in the necessary checks and balance to prevent the same fire from happening. Repeat enough times and your failure rate will drop significantly.
III. BE MENTALLY TOUGH.
Learn to deal with your fears.
Fear of failure.
Fear of disappointment.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of losing out to competitors.
Fear of being the odd one out.
Instead of getting paralyzed by these fears, reach down deeper and find your source of courage.
For some of us, it is our faith.
For others, it is our desire to succeed or our conviction to prove our naysayers wrong.
It does not matter where the source of your courage comes from… as long as you have one.
So find it and plug in.
Take comfort that every person you meet has the same fears as you.
But if you are willing to act IN SPITE of your fears, you would have already set yourself apart from most of them.
And if you are still afraid, ask yourself this question:
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
But as long you still got your head on your shoulder, you still have a fighting chance to win everything back… and more.
So out of these three lessons, which one resonate with you the most and why?