Risky Business

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“You must take the risk off the table. Each day, you must take just a bit more, mount it on your back and bear its weight until it just can’t fight you. ntil the risk stops doubting. Until you beat it.”

By Nayia Moysidis (Founder, Writer’s Bloq)

People discuss startupland as though it is mythical. They discuss creation as though it is the elusive Aphrodite. They wish for her, long for her, describe her beauty, desperately wish to see her just once. They discuss every detail of how they would pursue her, what they would do to seek her, how they would approach every step towards her, why they deserve to be the one who wins her.

And then they do nothing. There’s something so attractive about possibility, something so simple about the thought what could be. All the glory and none of the pain. All the sizzle and none of the burn. Because as soon as the imaginary pursuit becomes reality, the risk of it all dims the flame. The possibility of what might not be creeps into your mind. And you become immediately aware that the dream is infinitely more delicious than the reality.

Let me be more clear: Starting a company is impossibly hard. Certainly you’ve already heard that, but honestly, that one wasn’t for you. It was for me. Because the best thing you can do when you start a company from scratch is to recognize this fact. The best thing you can do is tell yourself how impossible it is every single day. The best move you can make is to remind yourself of the insurmountable odds, of the impossibility so often that you become immune to the concept.

Because what you’re doing isn’t normal. Because the choice you’ve made is about to hurt. Because you will work 20 hour days, with no pay, and have your friends texting you about forgotten dinners and missed birthdays and vacations in dreamy islands and your parents will want to know when you’re coming home and your legs will ache from lack of exercise and your brain will sting from overwork. Because you’re about to feel incredibly alone.

Because no one is going to understand. Because even those who have been there haven’t been exactly where you are. Because no one has. Because at some point, even you won’t get it. Because, trust me, there will be a moment when you regret it. There will be a moment when you sit at your desk, slam your poor old Macbook shut, and burst out yelling, WHY THE HELL AM I DOING THIS?

You’ll take a venting break. You’ll text everyone you know to say hi. You’ll try to distract yourself from the fact that you made this choice, and you’ll blame everyone around you for not staging an intervention stopping you from yourself. You’ll go for a walk in a rainy park and you’ll stop under a tree. And lightning will strike, and it will hit you.

Not the lightning, but the thought. The secret that all innovators share: the subtle sweet-minty taste of success. Because you knew it all along. You just forget sometimes. That the line between success and failure is so ridiculously fine. That it is composed of small part luck, medium part brilliance, and largest part determination. That if you extend your tongue, you can just taste it on your smallest bud. And once you’ve tasted it, how can you turn away?

Because the heroes of mythology knew what you do. That you will never see Aphrodite if you don’t seek her. That you can’t win the war if you don’t show up to the battle. That the dream might be more delicious but it’s also so very fickle. That life is a game of risk, and there’s only one way to eliminate it: you must take the risk off the table. Each day, you must take just a bit more, mount it on your back and bear its weight until it just can’t fight you. Until the risk stops doubting. Until you beat it.

Because to others, what you’re doing might seem impossible. But to you, impossible doesn’t translate.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

Photo credit: Jeroen Bosman on Flickr.

About the guest blogger: Nayia Moysidis is the Founder of Writer’s Bloq, a literary collective for talented writers to share, collaborate, and gain exposure for their writing. Nayia graduated from Columbia’s Creative Writing program in May 2011. During her years at Columbia, she played Division I soccer, explored six continents, and held positions at Film London, VISA, SportsMark, and Simon & Schuster. She has been published in Flaneur Foundry, NOW!HERE, and Forbes. Follow her on Twitter at @NAYIAisms.