There is an online project I have been working on and it is hitting hard on my self-confidence. I keep on second-guessing myself, rethinking things, postponing emails I should send, meetings I should have. The fear of launching holds me semi-paralyzed.
I have launched online projects before, with mixed levels of success. My whole career has been about online projects. So this is not new territory.
But this time I am in a different country; My family and I moved to the USA in August last year after spending two years in Kenya, and another year in the US before that, so it feels like nothing has foundations right now. I have no solid community here. I am building networks anew, establishing contacts and coming out of a long professional hiatus. I keep wondering if all the things I’ve done before will translate here. Will people listen? Will I get the support I need?
In Zimbabwe, the last venture I ran had just started making traction and then fell apart spectacularly. The business was based on online news, web development and social media.
Now, I know the economy was hard. I know online publications around the world were struggling, and continue to struggle, with revenue models. I know all the reasons that I can give for the failure of that business. But in my mind all of them point to me. I failed the team. I failed the readers of our websites. I failed to do the things I said I’d do. Who does the buck stop with, right?
In the end we shut the business down, save for our flagship site, www.zimbojam.com, which thanks to the heroic efforts of two young men, we continue to run.
And I have a family now. When I was 23, single and launching my first business, a web development company, in Zimbabwe, I had lots more leeway to fail. Now, it seems the stakes are higher.
But I feel I owe the younger me this effort.
I feel the younger Fungai, who worked his ass off but did not see the results he was hoping for, who never hesitated with the things he was passionate about and went all in, who started again and again, would want to kick the current Fungai, who hesitates at every turn as he puts this new project together.
It is this younger Fungai who is challenging me to push this to the end and see where it goes.
Then there is the constant wondering what I will tell the two of you when you are old enough to understand. That I spent 20 years pushing a dream and then just gave up on it? That I wrote about never giving up on myself and then did just that?
And so because I know that when that day comes, I cannot tell you that. Because I know that I want to be able to tell you that your old man failed and failed and may still be failing even then, but wakes up each morning stronger by those failures, charged up by them, challenged to do better. Because my parents gave all they could so that I could be here today. Because your mother and too many other people have believed in me. Because doing this project will bring all the things I am passionate about together and light up my days. Because if it works out it will light up the days of many others. Because of all these things, I must do this thing.
I just reread that last paragraph and there is such conviction in it. I wish it were always like that in my head, but sometimes these forces that push me forward, I feel like they are losing the battle. Sometimes, too, like they are winning. I keep listening to Les Brown, Robin Sharma, Lisa Nichols and Eric Thomas to urge these forces on. We must win. This must happen.
By the time you are old enough to read this you will know if it did finally happen. If we won. If we launched.
Here’s to that day and everything that must be brought to life before we see it.
Picture by skeeze from Pixabay