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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Glasses Half-Full

I'm my own, worst enemy. And my harshest critic at the same time.

Ask me about my success and I'll often tell you that I'm a one-hit wonder. And whilst that one-hit has been a big hit, I now have 4 relatively significant failures under my belt.

This is however all bullshit and stems from a perspective where the glass seems half-empty. Good or bad, it's always half-empty and never half-full.

I have however been looking at this wrongly though.

I was on a Clarity call with Dan Martell last night.

Dan had requested the call to chat about the lessons I had learnt from PublicBeta.

So a couple of hours before the call, I sat down and started scribbling a few notes about the things I learnt from the whole experience. This in itself was hard and something (I think) I had subconsciously avoided since pressing pause.

Not too surprising though that once I started writing, I could quickly identify loads of things I learnt about PublicBeta, startups in general and - especially - about myself.

The thing about this though was that the first five things I wrote down on the list were either bad, negative or focused on the "why I failed and needed to press pause"-part of the experience.

I got to that point of this exercise in reflection and just kinda stopped writing; reading through the list a couple of times.

I was kinda stuck at that point, as I couldn't find any other bad things that had happened (and that I was now attempting to turn into a lesson learnt).

Being stuck at that point, shifted the momentum in my head and the positives that I could take from the whole experience. Within a couple of minutes I added another five things to the list that consisted of awesome, new things that I had learnt (and can take with me on whatever journey I decide to take on next).

These things included (most of which I have not yet written about here, but plan to do soon):

  • Building a mailing list, using that to build relationships and eventually make some money.
  • How direct, unscaleable and personalized gestures can help in onboarding and sales interactions.
  • How to (ultimately) test and validate ideas.
  • Getting better at content marketing to really help and educate your ideal, target audience.

Those things I would have never learnt otherwise and it's assets that I have now added to my toolkit. It might not have rendered the best of outcomes with PublicBeta, but that just means that I have to be patient and apply them to the next project to craft a rewarding outcome.

What this made me realize is that it is super-easy to fall into the trap of seeing glasses as being half-empty, instead of half-full.

For the last 2 months, I've been beating up on myself for fucking up with PublicBeta. The reality for me is that I was (and am) responsible for the mistakes made, since I made bad decisions that was heavily influenced by my state of mind at the time.

It's been part of the process to learn and accept that. But part of the process has also been to come to this realization that maybe it's not all about the clouds having had a silver-lining.

Maybe the clouds were a big positive in itself.

Perspective is important here and whilst I was beating up on myself, it was really hard to see the forest for the trees.

Yes, I lost 6 months' of time and energy, along with the $40k-odd that I put into the business. That part sucks.

But in the last 2 months I've been paying off the emotional debt that this failure created and right now I'm seeing this glass as half-full.

In fact, it feels like my glass is filling up once again and that it's soon gonna reach that point where it'll be overflowing.

I'll end by borrowing a (slightly amended) quote from Marc Barros' recent post on "Getting Back Up":

"I’m (almost) back in the entrepreneurial ring."

Onwards & upwards.

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