LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman Gives This Rousing Speech to Startups Facing Their Darkest Moments
It offers lessons for anyone struggling in the face of a massive challenge.
Everybody's got their thing they need to persevere through. Their struggle, their looming catastrophe. Entrepreneurs, leaders, employees, startups. Especially startups.
Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and major investor in many other big startups, knows. In fact, on his Masters of Scale podcast he recently shared this truth as well as what he tells any startup that's facing its darkest moment. Here's what he said:
At some point, and usually at many points, the startups I've founded or invested in hit dark days. The company faces an existential threat. It will live or die on how the emergency plays out. The team is tired. The team is discouraged. The team is scared. And one of the things I'll do is give them a speech that sounds something like this:
"If startups were easy, everyone would do it. They're hard. But that hardness is the thing that gives you the chance to change the world. All startups go through a valley of the shadow. All of them--PayPal, LinkedIn, things that I've done personally, things that I've invested in, Facebook, Airbnb--have valleys of the shadow, where you're like, 'Why did we think this was a good idea? We didn't realize there was going to be this landmine, that it was going to be this hard.' But that's where you have the possibility of being heroic, of accomplishing something that no one else has done. Of making a change in the world that gets reflected in society and changes millions of people's lives. And that's the reason why you face down these dark days, you band together, and you work very hard to solve them. And that's your chance to be heroes."
“如果初创公司很容易，那么每个人都去开公司了。他们很难。但是这种难度让你有机会改变世界。所有创业公司都经历了阴影之谷。所有这些都是 - PayPal，LinkedIn ，我个人所做的事情，我投资的事情，Facebook，Airbnb--都曾经阴云密布，你总会问自己，'我们为什么会认为这是一个好点子？我们没有意识到前面怎么会有这么多地雷，会变得越来越艰难。’但是，这就是你有可能成为英雄，完成别人没有做过的事情的地方。改变世界，改变社会，改变数百万人的生活。这就是你会面对这些黑暗日子的原因，如果你们团结在一起，艰苦奋斗努力解决问题。你就有可能成为英雄。“
I pictured a soaring orchestral score underneath Hoffman's words. Here's how they apply to anyone facing daunting challenges.
1，Know that challenge is designed to warp your fortitude.
That's what challenge does: It changes your modus operandi. It wears you down. It brings fear and doubt to the surface. It can negatively affect your outlook and the way you perform.
What if, instead, you saw challenge as an igniter of the best version of yourself? Revel in it. Remind yourself of what it means to challenge--it's to put opposition against or test the abilities of something. If it weren't for challenge, we'd be in a mode of repetition and the path of least resistance. We wouldn't be challenging much of anything--our assumptions, the status quo, or ourselves. Becoming a better-self fuels fortitude.
相反，如果你将挑战视为点燃最好自己的最佳方式，那会怎样？痛并快乐着，让自己沉浸其中。时刻提醒自己挑战的意义 – 可以让你反观自己，可以测试某些事情的潜能。如果从不面临挑战，我们将处于重复模式和阻力最小的路径。我们不会挑战任何事情 - 我们的假设，现状或我们自己。我们不会想着成为一个更好的坚忍不拔的自己。
2，Abandon your aloneness
Know that you're not alone in what you're facing. You're not alone in the self-doubt your monumental challenge is creating, in how tired it's making you, in how frightened at the thought of failure you might be. As Hoffman says, and in my experience too, everyone faces "a valley of the shadow." I've certainly experienced "existential challenges" as an entrepreneur. Where something I was working incredibly hard toward led to failure, not fruition.
But I've learned from it and feel better equipped to try again. Knowing I'm not alone in the struggle gives me an odd, quiet strength.
So band together with compatriots in your darkest hour for fortitude. If you're a solopreneur, know that you're still not alone because other solopreneurs are feeling/have felt what you are as you face down your own daunting problem.
3，The counter to "it's hard" is "it's transformative."
Whatever you're facing that's hard, it's hard for a reason. That's why not just anyone can do it. And if it's hard, then solving it must produce something meaningful. All the marginally important contributions have been made already because it's low-hanging fruit. That makes solving for the harder stuff all the more important, all the sweeter.
4，Heroic change can't come easy.
Not that it doesn't or won't, but that it can't. A hero becomes a hero by slaying a beast, not by swatting a mosquito. Any storyteller will tell you that heroes must go through a journey. It's the basis for so many movies--hero rises, reaches a mountain, nearly falls off the mountain, hits a low, recovers, emerges victorious. There must be valleys before peaks or there are no heroes.
不是在当下不容易做到，也不是或许不容易做到，而是不可能容易做到。英雄通过屠杀野兽而不是通过拍蚊子而成为英雄。任何讲故事的人都会告诉你英雄必须经历一段旅程。这是许多电影的基础 – 英雄崛起，到达顶峰，然后从山上掉下来，低谷，恢复，再出现胜利。在高峰之前必须有低谷，否则英雄也无从谈起。
But, you say, working through the daunting challenge that you're facing would hardly make you a hero. Wrong. You will be to somebody. To an admirer. To someone who wants to do what you're doing or something like it. To someone who wants to overcome his/her own obstacle.
Ask yourself, if I can get past this monstrous challenge, in whose eyes will I be a hero? Even if not for you, for them. It's fuel for the fight.
So keep on the hero's journey and you might just enjoy a cinematic ending.
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