Not in the industry but in life. Lockdown has given me a little time to reflect on exactly what I have achieved and not achieved in the past 10 years. #StaySafeAll
In 2009, 10 years ago, I started university as an Aerospace Engineer. Originally I only applied for a Bachelors but once I did my Year in Industry (YiI) and proved my grades in my second year (technically 3rd including YiI) I applied and got onto the Masters course. In the moment I felt proud but I also knew that it would take a lot of hard work and dedication to get through all the projects, assignments and exams required to get a decent grade. Living off energy drink and Shim Ramyun spicy noodles!
I enjoyed my time at uni. It was truly an interesting and different experience. So fast forward 5 years later and I'm graduating uni with a 2:1 (just missed a 1st by 1%). Number of friends / fellow peers on exactly the same course as myself; 5. Whittled down from the hundreds of Engineering students and 60 or so Aerospace Engineering students. 5. Five was the final number who did one of the more intense and complex courses. Proud of us all. Well, that's half the decade gone. And no, I don't have the certificate framed and on a wall. I'm proud of it but I prefer art on the walls. Graduation was such a warm day!
So what's next then? 2014
Well, I joined a program to help students fresh out of uni learn business and tech and build a company. I wasn't ready for a "job". So I went for this instead, it fits my personality and I've always been trying to hustle on the side, even from the playground - selling plastic prank spiders and sweets bought in bulk. The program was interesting. Would I do it again? No. It was miss-managed, poorly thought out and lacked proper care and the right people. However, it was the start and I knew what I was getting in for. So for the next 2 years, myself and 2 others built a company from the ground up in an effort to get investment from the program and go out into the big world of business. 2 years of learning how to code, how to do business and sales etc. Many aspects we're covered, but in the end I was self taught and the drive and determination was mine and mine alone. It started out well, the health of the company never did very well but the idea was solid and all we needed was funding and time. One to two more years, 2017-2019 and then it happened, pressure started mounting and I felt like I was alone. My co-founders failed to uphold their morals and betrayed me. Sounds a bit dramatic, but for me it was. I became severely depressed and one of the cofounders was my close friend from uni. We don't talk now. I droow myself into a hole. A hole which obviously broke most of my body as well as my mind. I became severely ill constantly. My immune system was shutting down. Find your balance to not make this mistake. You may think your pushing yourself to succeed. But that's not the way it works - if you're mind and body start to fail then you've gone too far. You become counter productive and it impacts the quality of your work. Find balance and you'll achieve.
Starting a business is hard. Really hard, but if the team of people you have with you break your trust then it won't work - regardless of how good they are. Build a culture with a team and tackle a problem together.
I've always said building a company is like building a relationship a marriage. It requires trust and communication if either or both of those fail then the company fails. Company's fail all the time for a multitude of reasons but all of the other reasons mean nothing in the face of trust and communication. A team with trust and communication allows that team the opportunity to continually tackle any problem - even if it means failing sometimes. But eventually the team will get there; they will adapt and overcome.
In spite of all this in 2015 I met a woman who I married. Such a beautiful and kind soul. More than anything I thank her for helping me through the worst fight of my life.
2019 - Here we are. A decade later.
I've now left the company I started. Got a little payout for my shares and bought a house. Finally, I have a house. And that's when it hit me. When I was a young boy I had a dream of owning a house on the side of a mountain and now almost 20 years later I achieved that dream. But I didn't even know it. On the move in day my parents came down to help us move in. And as a departing few words before travelling back home my father said 'You got the house on the side of a mountain you always wanted'. And that's when it hit. I became overwhelmed with emotion and cried. I couldn't believe I achieved my dream.
Got a new job with great group of people - more of a family than a company. I needed something with less responsibility to rebuild myself and take some time to relax after such a hard time through my life.
Well, what about now?
Well, now it's 2020. I feel at peace and for the first time in my life in a form of financial security. Took that time for myself and I'm finally ready to get back up and push for the next thing in my life. I realised I was falling into a trap. I have a salary now and that means security. For me however it also means something else. It means mediocrity. It means becoming complacent and content. Something I never want to be. I have such grand designs that I refuse to fall into this trap. So, I'm building another business - looking for a team, honing my skills and preparing the future that I envisage. This time better and stronger, learning from my mistakes and ensuring they don't occur twice.
It has been one hell of a ride this past decade. But I'm looking forward to the next 10 years. I set the bar pretty high for myself, but I can top that in the next decade. Bring it on.
For those on their journey through good times and bad times. Always remember the team and never forget your Why. You're stronger than you realise and you can overcome anything.
I feel you. I had similar problems with companies I founded. gg actually I am waiting for one to succeed ;D ... Esp the thing with the partner I can relate to. I started my first company with a friend. He did not betray me, but we started out without clarifying responsibilities and ownership.
So after a while the pressure started building up between us. The way we perceived how we should do things diverged more and more. No one was allowed to decide instead we started basically bitching around and than monetary stress hits us as well.
lets just say g not one of my favorite times to remember, although a lot of good things happened as well in other aspects of my life.
It took us like ~5 years to normalize our relationship. I consider him still one of my closest friends. gG didn't change the fact that for a while I wanted to hit him as soon as I heard his voice ;D ....
I don't know if it was something similar with you. But I understand the general notion of starting out with friends and ending up in a bad place.
However I think it's great that you got your house :D! And take care of yourself! ;D