Keep calm and stay graceful.


Being an entrepreneur is hard work. And right now I’m not talking about long hours, about the fear of failure, about all the challenges you have to face every day, all the new skills you need to learn, all the things you hate and have to do anyway because there’s no-one there to delegate them to… You get my point. But that’s not what I want to write about right now. I want to write about preserving your gracefulness.

It reminds me of Guy Kawasaki’s reference to “being a mensch” in his great book, The Art of the Start (recommended reading, btw): I consider myself an extremely lucky, privileged person. I am able to live my life and pursue my goals with an almost ridiculous amount of freedom. No, I am not going to use a cheesy catchphrase like “I am living my dream” – way too many late nights working, and well, see above for all those other little horrors. But it is exactly the life I have chosen, and that privilege is something I try and appreciate. I try and show my appreciation by being not only polite but kind; by giving back to the wonderful people surrounding me; and by generally being a happy and pleasant person to be around.

Except that – every now and again – we all face situations that make it hard to remain graceful and appreciative.

Taking a step back from an annoying or hurtful situation is one of the biggest – and most frequent – challenges of being an entrepreneur. However it is the only way of evaluating the situation calmly and rationally – and the only way of deciding whether this is one of those rare occasions that warrant you to go back in guns blazing, executing a deeply satisfying, crushing revenge – or one of the occasions (and there are many more of those) where you should sit back, take a deep breath, smile and remind yourself that revenge is rarely as sweet as the realisation that the situation did not make you forget who you are. And the fact that it doesn’t keep you from what you were doing in the first place is a wonderful added bonus.