Over the past week, two of my clients have had to deal with the sudden and unexpected departure of a Co-Founder.
Losing a Co-Founder or a trusted key team member can be one of the more traumatic events to navigate as a Founder.
I know this first-hand because it happened to me when I was leading my first startup. One day, my CTO, employee #1, and best friend stopped in to my office and let me know he was leaving for another opportunity.
It felt like a devastating blow. Like the worst thing that could actually happen. For the previous five years, I had counted on him for everything. He was our technical leader. He was great with people and leading teams. He was an emotional balance for when I would get too low or was dealing with an unreasonable customer.
But after five years, he felt like it was time for him to move on.
Eckhart Tolle has a particularly helpful quote when you are hit with the worst that could happen.
“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
It’s wise advice, because whatever is happening is going to happen, no matter how you feel about it. But as soon as you put yourself into the frame of mind that you had chosen this, new possibilities open up.
After the initial shock and panic ebbed, I started to see how this would be a positive move for me and my company as well. Sometimes we get too comfortable with the roles established in the early days of a company, and we miss that things need to evolve as the company grows.
I could see that the company had grown, and the bigger need that had been staring me in the face was to bring on someone who could help me with the day-to-day running of the company. This proved to be the crucial turning point as we accelerated towards a successful exit two years later.
I see my two clients going through the same process. Once the initial shock and anger fades, they are seeing how the worst that could happen is actually paving the way for their next leap of growth and possibility.
Until next time,
Helping Founders Build Rocket Ships
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