I’m about to launch a project that will most probably change my life, and hopefully the lives of thousands of others. That’s the goal, anyway.
Let me try to get personal here and share with you twelve lessons that I’ve learned over the last five years. It was a hell of a journey, and I enjoyed every part of it.
Now, looking back, I’m proud of how everything turned out—with the people I have surrounded myself with, with what we have created so far, and with what kind of person I’ve become.
Even if things don’t end the way I’m expecting, I sure have learned a lot.
I decided to write down these lessons now, before 2019 brings all the possible outcomes of the last five year’s hard work…and why wait for external validation? Oh yeah, because no one will listen…well, maybe they will soon, after all :))
( It takes some time for Google to index it anyway, right? )
Most of these lessons—or morals or teachings or whatever you might call them—are nothing groundbreaking, nothing you haven’t heard before. But I strongly believe in their power, and I’ve learned firsthand how important they are, so I want to gather them all to share with you.
So here they are, twelve incredibly valuable entrepreneurship lessons that I’ve learned over the course of making my project a reality:
1. Acknowledging is Not Enough.
There is a reason you might have heard some of these lessons before: because they actually work! But there is a big distance between acknowledging them and putting them into practice. So don’t just read this blog post; take notes, memorize these lessons, and apply them in your everyday life. Theory is beautiful, ideas are beautiful, but execution is everything.
2. The Law of Attraction is Incredibly Powerful.
If you have a goal, assume it will be achieved. Start from there and influence everyone around you to find the solution/path to get there. You’ll see it done before you can even imagine. This will help you get around many “nos.”
Thoughts become things.
3. Prepare for the Long Term, Then Be Ready to Change/Adapt.
What do you want to achieve? What are your dreams? If you don’t know it already, don’t worry, you’ll eventually find it. If you already do: good, stick with it and don’t quit easily.
I was lucky to have found something I love early: traveling and telling stories. Obviously, I was not able to immediately earn a living from that. It took time, consistency, long-term focus and practice on the run. I founded a creative agency to get better at telling stories and kept traveling on the side. Eventually, these two passions started to come together and I can now focus on traveling and telling stories at the same time.
That said, while none of this would have happened without focus and planning, I had to be open to change along the way, and make sacrifices to achieve the long-term goals. If I had been stuck in the mindset of only pursuing one goal or the other, I would never have bothered to pursue this latest amazing opportunity to combine them. So focus, but don’t forget to keep your eyes open for what life brings your way! Dreams take time coming true, so don’t rush them and enjoy the ride.
4. Welcome to the Real World.
This is one of the most important lessons my father gave me. Every time I ran into a hurdle since I left college, my father told me: “Welcome to the real world.”
And in the real world, life is not always fair. People are not all knowledgeable or helpful. There will always be people and moments that are simply not worth your time, effort, and focus. Even if you have all the right arguments and evidence to convince someone of your point of view, stop and ask yourself: is it really worth it? Or can you use that time and patience on something more productive and meaningful? Sometimes that’s just how the real World works.
5. Prepare for Ups and Downs, and Embrace the Downs.
Life is an emotional rollercoaster, filled with doubts, certainties…ups and downs.
As much as you might fear the failures you experience, remember that those bad times are important—don’t try to avoid them. You learn more from them than from success. Fail better and sooner.
6. Surround Yourself with Positive, Like-Minded People.
This is crucial to help you maintain your own emotional health and motivation.
Surround yourself with ambitious, supportive, positive and successful people who lift you up instead of bringing you down.
7. Don’t Go it Alone.
Wherever your journey takes you, find a partner and share the ride with them (both the ups and the downs). Tell your friends about your goals; it will create a sort of positive pressure for you to achieve them.
I worked with a partner during the founding of my creative agency and we then both followed a different path. I then spent half a year alone and another year leading and building up a team again from scratch with a different positioning and mission, and it was way more difficult to do it alone. In this last year, I have found another partner and I’m even sharing the same home with him, which has made all the difference. We’ve been sharing all the journey, ups and downs, and it’s more productive and way more motivating!
8. You Can Be a Leader Without Being the Best at Everything.
Being a leader may be hard and lonely, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Be humble and seek the best in each person. Empower your team and don’t try to do everything by yourself. I know, it’s hard, but it’s better to make ten things happen properly than one thing perfectly. As valuable as we can be individually, we are exponentially more valuable when aligned and working together.
And be very cautious about who you hire; you are who you hire.
9. Confidence is Key, but Arrogance is a Lock.
Commitment, focus, and confidence are very important to have and to transmit to your team, partners, and clients. But don’t mistake arrogance for confidence; arrogance will lock you up, preventing you from working together with your team.
10. Seek Your Meaning and Never Forget Why.
Seek something greater than yourself. Write down your values and mission; they will help you make decisions along the way.
For example, authenticity is much valued in our team and the foundation of our project. By keeping that in mind, we allow that guiding principle to help us make decisions in hiring new people, closing partnerships, communicating, etc.
11. Communication is Everything.
Communicate thoughtfully and effectively in everything you do. Put yourself in the other people’s shoes to be understood. Emails, messages, talks, everything—don’t underestimate communication and words. If you communicate effectively things will get done better and quicker. When you are the one who is most interested in making something happen, don’t wait or depend on others. Make sure they understand you.
12. Breathe, Feel Accomplished, and Be Grateful.
It is so easy to get lost in the work that we postpone happiness and the sense of accomplishment. We all tend to set higher goals every time we achieve something, but we have to be grateful and enjoy the ride, step by step. (check out the video we have done that talks about this “postponing happiness.”)
Through all these lessons, all this hard work and happiness and ups and downs, I would never be here today without the help and commitment of all the people I have been working with, the people who believed in this project from the very beginning. They are responsible for keeping me motivated and focused, and they are responsible for what the future will bring to us. Thank you, now and forever.
P.S.: I will submit this to Forbes today and they most probably won’t publish it. But I’ll try to submit it again five months from today, on the 31st of May 2019, and let’s see what happens.
Like the football coach Fernando Santos said before taking the first-ever European trophy for Portugal, “I already told my family, I’m only going back to Portugal on the 11th, and we will be greeted with celebrations and joy!”