Walking in the shadow every day

by oneafrikan on May 23, 2012

Long time since my last blog post. The last few weeks have been fucking hectic, so thought I’d write up something as it’s gnawing at me. I’m going to commit to more regular blogging once one or two more operational things are in place, so until then it’s as and when I can ;-) If anything, from now on, the stuff I write here will be for me and me alone. If anyone digs it, then awesome. If not, then I’ve got something to reflect back on.


So the last while has been an immense, epic, fucking monster entrepreneur roller-coaster. I’m cursing not because I’m an ineloquent person, but because I’m trying to get a point across in a blunt way.

On one day, we hit milestones and numbers that make my eyes water. I mean, I’m sweating blood for 3 years, delaying gratification for pretty much anything one can delay gratification for, and then in 4 months we start to grow in a way that I was dreaming about 3 years ago. We’re hitting metrics that show we’re growing, and fast.

Then on the flip side, we start hitting operational growth issues that are slowing us down, and creating a lot of pain. Everything is fast, everything is a firefight, everything is aimed at keeping the growth going so that we get to profitability faster. But it’s cool. Those are the good problems, those are the ones I’ll wake up at 4am to conquer any day of the week. Those are the problems I want.

It’s the fuckoff big other stuff that crops up at exactly the same time, which makes you wonder whether you can cope with it all. It’s the people you trust that let you down when it really matters, that makes you wonder whether you’re ever going to trust people from the get go again. It’s the mistakes you make when you’re so tired from firefighting all day long, that you really wouldn’t make usually (I left my wallet and phone on a train after no sleep; this is after identity theft and credit card fraud), which just complicate things further.

And so from one hour to the next on the same day, literally, you’re dealing with epic shit that doesn’t sit on normal people scales. Almost 99% of people I speak to just don’t get it. They can’t relate, so I don’t say anything anymore. I just say I’m in IT and Wedo ecommerce.

So what’s happened is that my tolerance / ability to deal with things has changed massively. This is a good thing, and this is part of why I’m writing this blog post. You learn shit about yourself when you think you really have nothing more to give. It’s also taught me that it’s something I have to become comfortable with to keep growing, and to become the person I know I am inside. I’m going to change and push the growth even more so I deal with stuff better.

But, it feels like almost every day my universe is at threat in a fundamental way, like I’m walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death every day, and it’s fucking hard.

And that’s all. My internalisation.
There’s no getting away from it ;-)

3 comments

After reading this I didnt know whether to laugh, cry or marvel at how consistent the laws that
govern this universe are. Your experiences are so reflective of what im also going through, but
at 24 on my 2nd start-up attempt, I assume mine are on a smaller scale.
“I’m sweating blood for 3 years, delaying gratification for pretty much anything one
can delay gratification for..” this made me laugh because it has been 1.5 years for me.
I have found that all these up and down experiences over time put one in a state of apatheia, Im still to figure
out if thats a good or bad space to be? On a lighter note, I left my glasses and watch on a taxi
ater an all nighter lol.
“You learn shit about yourself when you think you really have nothing more to give” – I fully agree with this.

@robbylebotha

by robby on May 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm. Reply #

Hey Gareth,
I can only say that I admire you as an entrepreneur, and as a person. For how little it counts, might be a little drop of a smile that can help you with the day :)

by Simone Brunozzi on May 24, 2012 at 7:03 am. Reply #

What does it feel like to be the CEO of a start-up??…

Quick update (2012-06-04): Being a startup CEO is the best job in the world. There are so many positives that it’s hard to go through them all here. It’s massively rewarding. The personal growth journey is fantastic. The upside far outweighs the down…

by Quora on June 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm. Reply #

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