“Years of preparation weren’t enough to equip me for the single biggest challenge as a founder: the constant fight against myself.”

By Melissa Kwan (Co-founder & CEO, Flat World Applications)

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to build something with limitless potential that I can do anywhere in the world.  I never knew what that would be, so I spent most of my life up to starting Flat World Applications looking for the fundamentals of success and building a foundation, while having no real direction.

Years of preparation weren’t enough to equip me for the single biggest challenge as a founder: the constant fight against myself.

The thought that you may never make it will undoubtedly send you into an emotional roller coaster so volatile that you hate yourself some days, and drive those close to you away. Successful entrepreneurs will warn you about this before you sacrifice everything, but the darkness of uncertainty is so profound, it can only be understood through experience.

In times of difficulty, it is comforting to know that at some point in time, someone, somewhere in the world overcame the same obstacles.  You are not alone.

I looked to Quora for wisdom and stumbled upon many questions about the secret to success coming from entrepreneurs with similar challenges, followed by hundreds of answers. Over the course of this journey, I came to realize the secret to success does not boil down to a single characteristic. Just as a chef carefully chooses ingredients, process, and presentation…an entrepreneur cultivates an idea and executes to fruition.

It is not about your gender, race, or pedigree. What you can achieve is not preordained by default.

It is about creating opportunities, strategic persistence, patient tenacity, generous sacrifice, irrational determination, delusional ambition, intelligent optimism, focused vision, undying passion, skillful preparation, dedication to excellence, curiosity for knowledge, willingness to try, experience in failures, luck and timing, hope and fear, challenge and risk, integrity and accountability, endurance and energy, courage and execution, inspiring purpose, empowering teamwork, supportive friendships, and detachment from what you know to reimagine a reality where anything is possible.

It is about every element working together in harmony, enabling you to build an empire as the best version of yourself. When you build a relationship with an idea so strong that it becomes an inseparable passion, you will feel liberated with a sense of purpose.

It is about a desire for greatness so overpowering, that it is no longer a choice not to leave the world a better place.

If not you, then who?

Does this founder’s battle with uncertainty sound familiar?

headshot smallAbout the guest blogger: Melissa Kwan is the co-founder of Flat World Applications; Their product, VIDA, is a mobile application for real estate project marketing; an interactive brochure for customers with a sales tool back end for developers and agents. Melissa left a large software company in 2011, and co-founded Flat World Apps with Ting Sun.