I came across this image (plan vs. reality) recently and I thought it was fitting in many ways. Where we might be looking back at the year gone by and looking towards the coming one, I realized that I have been in transition a lot longer than planned; a whole extra 12 months actually. What I ended up doing for most of this year was definitely not part of ‘the plan’ that I had when I left Switzerland the spring of 2013. Having a plan is fantastic, but so is changing it. This year has been about acting on those changes, and I couldn’t be happier returning to Halifax after 11 years and contributing to the startup community here.
Even since we started working on our tech startup full time in August, the thinking and vision of the company has evolved from where we started. With continuous iterations and input, feedback, questions and push-backs, we have progressed quickly and learned so much. There is no way we could have stuck to the original plan once we started talking to people and questioning/proving every hypothesis. The only way we would have kept going with the plan as outlined a few months ago would have been in a complete vacuum, and that of course is suicide for a start-up.
Had we worked in a vacuum, we would have missed out on the learning from the launch36 accelerator program we joined in the fall, we would have never met all the amazing and talented startup colleagues, and we probably would have lost the motivation to keep going. Not to mention that our business would have probably turned out to be a complete failure.
But we didn’t work in a vacuum - quite the opposite actually. We talked to people near and far, we dove in with a business idea that we wholeheartedly believed in, but without the forewarning just how steep the learning curve would be. We kept the motivation and eagerness to learn, grow and iterate; once you get into that cycle of iterating – learning– iterating– learning , the momentum is contagious, and it’s far from being over. I could not have done it without very patient and supportive family and friends around the world, and without my partners in crime (my husband and business partner Isak, and our adventure labrador Fenwick). I appreciate you all!
What I’m taking with me from 2014 into the next year:
-Always be learning – whether it’s talking to customers, friends or strangers, never miss out on a chance to learn.
-Always be ready adapt – it is the the only way to move forward, and it keeps you on your toes. I promise, there will never be a dull moment.
-Always look on the bright side of life – sometimes things turn out differently from what you planned. Things happen that are beyond your control (and sometimes within it too), which can put a real dent in your plans and evoke all sorts of emotions. But, you can choose how you respond. Whatever the impact, it’s an opportunity to do something about it. And it may just be for the better.