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Embrace the Struggle as a Rising Entrepreneur

| August 5, 2009 | 19 Comments

My last article here on Under30 likely had you ready to jump off the couch and do some crazy _____with your life. I got some great feedback from everyone and it’s huge to hear someone say “Rob, your post was amazing, I’m so pumped”. That’s the easy part. Now onto step 2.

The Real Deal:STRUGGLE

This road isn’t going to be easy. You already know that. Yet, I come across so many young entrepreneurs that approach me with grand ideas and incredible passion but unless you’re willing and able to embrace the struggle you’re about to encounter, it’s going to be ten times harder. Why? Because if you’re fighting back the struggle and angry at it, frustrated and so forth, you’re not winning, but rather losing.

My girlfriend Nicole often says to me “How do you do this? How do you come out on top of every huge let down?” I answer, “I embrace the struggle”. Channel the hardship and the exhaustion of doing something that not many people have the wherewithal to even attempt. Be proud of yourself for working hard on something that you believe in.

Passion will get you ½ way there. Embracing the struggle will get you past the second ½.

I recently had a meeting with one of the most influential personalities and professionals on the Internet. It went incredibly well. We did dinner in New York City and I probably didn’t feel my face for a week before and after this occurred. I went back to NYC and had additional meetings and even more trepidation and shock as what was occurring was surreal. What I thought was going to go down ended up taking a curve, just as life often does. It’s not going to be a straight-line guys!

Bottom line. The project we were going to jump in together and get flying was put on hold. It had nothing to do with me, or the project itself, but more so timing and so forth. Was I bummed? You bet. Was I destroyed? Hell no. Friends, family, my girlfriend all braced for a huge meltdown and expected it. Did I? Of course not. This is the struggle guys. This is the time in your life when there’s going to be euphoric highs and heart crushing lows. What you think is what you live and well, I chose to use this experience as a tool, like a sword. After a few of these experiences, you’ll be wielding a battle-axe. (Mental one of course).

So, when you’re up, or down, it really doesn’t matter. I hope you embrace the struggle from every angle and do it every day. Like I said before. Nothing is given to you. You have to take it, own it, and embrace it.

Rob Ianelli is a 23 year old entrepreneur residing on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, MA with his girlfriend Nicole. He is a native of NY and 2007 graduate of American University in Washington DC with a BA in International Relations. His company Hip Visions LLC is behind (2) companies that are an extension of his life, experiences and passion. He likes draft beer, sand on his feet, yellow labs and being surrounded by true friends and great people and a hell of a lot more stuff.

Follow – @Robianelli Website – WhatsupMartha.com

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Category: Startup Advice

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Fighting the letdowns and getting angry with set backs will surely end up defeating you. You have to expect these things to happen. Know that the deal probably won't happen but it won't matter because its not going to stop you. If the deal goes through its just a perk but it wont make or break your project.

    Lets all embrace it!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Rob, glad you didn't meltdown–we've all been in disappointing situations and the worst is when they are abrupt. Lots of entrepreneurs slowly fizzle out, but when you get dropped hard, when life hits you in the face is the toughest of all.

    It all comes down to mental toughness. I'll read inspirational stories about people who's factories got bombed in WWII like the founder of Toyota and went through literally hundreds of setbacks.

    It really is all about the struggle! If it wasn't hard to get to the promised land, then it wouldn't be so good when you got there. On the same token, remember to enjoy the journey along the way!!

  • http://twitter.com/KEVINgotbounce kevin mandeville

    another phenomenal post rob! one thing the world doesn't teach you enough about is failure and how you're going to do a lot of it as entrepreneur (especially early on). it's something not enough of us expect or are prepared for. the earlier we understand this, ultimately we will be more successful for it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/johnexley JohnExley

    Rob, thanks for writing this.

    My passion and drive gotten me 1/2 way many times, placing me in the position to find many opportunities in the past year or so. Currently I am preparing to embrace the struggle as it is time to get past the second 1/2 of the way towards the end-goal.

    This post could not have been more timely to what I am facing right now.

    John C. Maxwell, author of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, once said: “Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best.” Using this strategy has proven difficult in my own life, but selecting only the best opportunity that you are most passionate about can launch you the whole way 'there'/

    I'll be in Cape Cod all next week and hope to meet you in Martha's Vineyard at some point!

  • KelliePosey

    Great post! We all experience this from time. Today I had a tough conversation which caused me to realize that I may have to postpone plans for a major project I am working on. Making this decision will not only impact my future plans but possibly the lives of my team.

    Before I allowed myself to get wrapped up in a meltdown, I remembered lyrics to Lupe Fiasco Kick, Push song:

    …kick…, push…, and coast…

    We already have the skates on; it is up to us to do what it takes to get to the point of coasting.

    Embracing the struggle with you….

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://beyondfreelancing.com Jeffrey Tang

    Very blunt – and very inspiring. It's not easy to get close to a big opportunity and then have it put on hold. It's even harder to get up and work your butt off the next day.

    Took a look at whatsupmartha.com … makes me want to move to Martha's Vineyard.

    I came across this post at a great time, just as I'm approaching a kind of crossroads in my life. Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    They don't teach you this stuff in the text books–you have to hear speakers, meet entrepreneurs and read books of people who have been in the trenches and lost battles.

    The more times you can use your loses as stepping stones the better!

  • http://www.whatsupmartha.com/ Rob

    John, Kevin, Kelie, Keven and of course Jared & Matt. Thanks for all the great feedback on the posting. I'm glad it's shedding light on multiple different situations for you guys and giving you some “oomph” at those dark and deciding moments in life. I'm totally pumped that yes, Lupe Fiasco can even be brought into this whole realm and well, whatever we can use out there to get by the small stuff and focus on the big things is great by me! I'll be monitoring the comments and getting back to you as much as possible. My personal email is Rob[at] whatsupmartha [dot] com if you want to talk more!

    Get out there and TAKE it

  • http://www.whatsupmartha.com/ Rob

    Jeffrey! Almost missed you. You have to come check out Martha's Vineyard some day, it's a great place to brainstorm biz ideas too!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Exley, it's like we always talk about–focusing. We only want to do things that we are 100% passionate about and have 100% time and energy to put into. You've got to make your dent only when you can crush it!

  • tybennett

    Being willing to push through the pain is what passion is really about – it is more than excitement – it is being willing to sacrifice/suffer for something you love

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Ty, I always think of myself as a professional athlete–whether its in the gym or in my head–you have to have that mental toughness to bounce back, stay motivated and fight to win.

    Coaches really help in this aspect–someone who can keep you level headed and help you find your way.

  • Tony Ruiz

    You took the words right out of my mouth Rob. When looking at the plus sides of things you're able to conquer that extra bump in the road.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Ty, I always think of myself as a professional athlete–whether its in the gym or in my head–you have to have that mental toughness to bounce back, stay motivated and fight to win.

    Coaches really help in this aspect–someone who can keep you level headed and help you find your way.

  • Tony Ruiz

    You took the words right out of my mouth Rob. When looking at the plus sides of things you're able to conquer that extra bump in the road.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Ty, I always think of myself as a professional athlete–whether its in the gym or in my head–you have to have that mental toughness to bounce back, stay motivated and fight to win.

    Coaches really help in this aspect–someone who can keep you level headed and help you find your way.

  • http://www.venturemixx.com/ Tony Ruiz

    You took the words right out of my mouth Rob. When looking at the plus sides of things you're able to conquer that extra bump in the road.

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