I didn’t go to an Ivy League. My parents aren’t rich. I don’t have a nest egg to finance my ventures or high-powered investors on a board of directors. When I started my company, Tenrocket, I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt. My wife had quit her job and moved with me to Atlanta to support my crazy dreams.
My business partner’s story is remarkably similar. We’ve struggled, almost quit, almost went out of business, thought about raising money, decided not to raise money, had great clients, had horrible clients, taken loans, gotten credit cards, paid them off, used them again, pivoted, charged more, stayed true to ourselves, and ultimately stayed alive.
The struggle is real, and it’s far from perfect. For almost three years we’ve been at this, turning down six-figure job offers and being told we could never build a successful, scalable company building apps for startups. We didn’t believe them and we’re still here because of it. I love what we do and I love the fact that we’ve overcome so many struggles to get here.
Now, people are buying into our vision. When we meet a founder for the first time, our story resonates. We’ve built close to 50 applications, have a solid, battle-tested process and strategic partnerships in the works with amazing people we’ve admired for years. Partnerships we used to dream about one day securing.
Most of the things I’ve wanted in life for the past ten years are starting to materialize. The future is looking stable and secure — personally AND professionally.
All of this is happening, and it’s stressing me the fuck out.
When I was broke and unemployed, everything was grit and hustle. Now that same grit and hustle is coupled with loss aversion. I never want to go back to my old life. I want to keep growing and helping people. I want to show my wife how much all of her pain and sacrifice has paid off.
I want, I want, I want.
This article has been sitting in my drafts folder for two weeks. I didn’t want to publish it until I could reasonably explain these feelings. Just last week I turned 30, and something about that milestone made me realize something:
It’s not about me.
Call me crazy, but it seems the happiest and most successful people care mostly about the value they create for others. My business coach makes $500/hr consulting with large enterprises, and yet he offers his guidance to me free of charge. He’s far too preoccupied with helping people to be existentially stressed about the meaning of life.
When I ask him, he says that to help others, you must first help yourself. I suppose you could replace “help” with “love” as well. Maybe that’s true. I’m honestly not sure. What I do know is that I’ve helped myself a lot over the past ten years. The next ten will be about empowering others.
I wanted to distill these insights down to a single phrase. Here’s what I came up with:
Happy people are hooked on the feeling of improving the lives of others. Unhappy people are hooked on the idea that improving their own lives will make them happy.
If you want to be happy, focus on how you can make other people happy. If you want to be successful, consider how you can make others successful.
Love others first, and you will come to love yourself.
Chris Turner is a co-founder of Tenrocket, a company building full-stack web and mobile applications for startups in 10 business days. Want to become a Hype Contributor? Email us to get the ball rolling!