Today is one of the good days for it is the beginning of another chapter for me. Over the past several months I have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows – as most entrepreneurs can relate in building your own business – but there is something special about new beginnings that makes the past pain feel necessary and the future appear bright.
HOW I GOT HERE
My journey here began in January 2014. It was the first time I was ever able to work on my own business full-time and it was exhilarating. I felt like everything would fall into place, but it didn’t. I chose to close that startup so that and I could try and start something that was closer to my heart.
In January of 2015 I dissolved my heartfelt startup with my business partner who was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had just watched my stepmother go through a horrific and trying journey with breast cancer herself. My little sister, Grace, described the experience perfectly, “everything was washed out in pink.”
Two startups, one year, with both failing. My business partner and more importantly, my close friend, suffering. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced sadness like I did then. Everything was crashing in around me. There was pain everywhere I turned, and when the people I love are in pain, life feels claustrophobic (especially when you have a failed startup you loved on top of it all).
It’s taken a long time to work up the confidence and courage to share the intensity of last year’s journey. Though the suffering seemed overwhelming, I remained grateful during and after. The reason? I grew stronger, I HAD to grow stronger, because of last year’s experiences.
When I put things into perspective I had so many things to be grateful for. I was working on my own business full time, I had my health, my husband, my family and my friends, a roof over my head, food in my belly, my amazing mentors… and I could keep going! I realized things could have been so much worse, there was no reason to feel sorry for myself and focus on the negative. I had my life and I was in control of it.
What I found most intriguing about that period of time was how I felt when I was working. There has always been, and always will be, something special about being in control of my future and destiny. No matter how hard the journey, there were two important aspects I held onto – my hope and my gratitude. Without these, everyday would be an unbearable struggle. I wish to believe that every woman who starts a company feels the same because hope is the reminder that the pain is only temporary, and gratitude is the practice of ensuring the pain can only tear you down so far. This is why I admire startup women so much. There are so few of us, facing, what seems like, impossible odds, and yet we face adversity with hope and gratitude for it is who I believe we are.
A NEW BEGINNING
This year, with this business, my own startup, I created it’s heart to be centered around celebrating the women I admire, the ones who inspire me, the trailblazers that faced the impossible odds of being startup women. But celebration was not enough. It is within my nature, the core of my being, to want to give back. So I choose to incorporate my core values into this business and have started a social, for-purpose startup. Doing business this way has activated my entrepreneurial soul in a way that I have never felt before. My company is a reflection of me and I am proud of what I am creating.
Sure, it could be another failure, but what I learned last year is the road to success is not a perfectly paved highway. It’s like the roads I drove on in Costa Rica, curvy, complex, and often without road signs to lead you in the correct direction. It’s scary at times, but in the end, the adventure is what makes us feel alive.
I don’t believe in the word failure. Every experience is a learning opportunity that helps me grow, helps all of us grow. It’s what pushes us to do better, to be better the next time, and that is the reason why I love being an entrepreneur.
Having you here reading my article lifts my spirits. Please share with me your story, inspire me, keep me going.
Nina is a Denver based entrepreneur and empowering outfitter for startup women. Nina wanted to find a way to center the heart of her business around giving back while also celebrating the women she loves to surround herself with, the ones who never give up, the trailblazers who face adversity and became startup women. Nina is looking forward to seeing more and more women start for-purpose businesses.