Running a business is not easy, relationships are not easy, exercising regularly is not easy, maintaining a healthy diet is not easy, managing your finances is not easy. Yes people, if you haven’t figured it out by now, life, is not easy.
So at times you may feel lost, intimidated and confused by it all but thankfully due to the large population of planet Earth, coupled with the ever increasing complexity of this life that we live, you can rest assured on the fact that you are definitely not alone in this struggle. The honest truth is that we are all out here doing this life thing for the very first time and as far as I am aware, nobody has the memo, there is no 100 page handbook, no user manual and no 30 day money back guarantee.
So in order for us to to get by, we just need to wing it and through the many years of winging it in both my business and personal life, the one creed that I have come to live by is to never settle, no matter what. Because the moment that you do settle for anything, any person or any place below your standards, you instantly undermine yourself and lower the bar for all your future endeavours. As soon as you settle on any aspect of your life, you throw in the towel on your dreams, you hang up the gloves in your battle against your fears and you ultimately concede to living a life that is far less than what you deserve and are capable of.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. – Steve Jobs
Never settle on what you do
I’ve been a pro-independence hustler (i.e “entrepreneur”) from a very young age so it was no surprise that I handed in my resignation 18 months into my first full time job, post graduation. I did this because the plans and visions that I had of my life on paper were very far from matching the reality of the life I was living. And while I was well aware of the major risks I was taking, financially, socially and mentally by taking this leap of faith, It had to be done. So I did what was necessary, regardless of the potential chaos and mayhem that could have ensued, after making such a major, mostly impromptu decision. Even if it meant living off a credit card, sacrificing my social life and bordering on the verge of mental instability. Why did I do this? Because… Never Settle.
If your business partners are not working as hard as you, it’s not a partnership, it’s a sinking ship – Julian Hall
Never settle on who you work with
Over the years I have partnered with a lot of different people for a number of different ventures. From running a high school tuck shop, attempting to run a university cleaning service and building an online SaaS (Software as a Service) tool for the education industry, to name a few. In each of these ventures I had to partner up with other individuals and the overwhelming lesson that I have learned from collaborating with so many different people over the years is that you should never ever settle for business partners, co-founders or investors. Essentially you should never settle on anyone that you need to form a significant relationship with. Because if your values don’t align, if your vision is not the same and if you are not willing to make the same type of sacrifices, then you are doomed to fail eventually. Yes, it may take a while for things to fall apart, because things usually start off well but just know that when the misalignment is eventually exposed, either you will get dropped by them or you will have to do the dropping. Why? Because, Never Settle.
When you’re in a start-up, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A players? – Steve Jobs
Never settle on who works for you
The admin involved with company recruitment is undoubtedly the bane of my managerial existence. You need to set up job adverts, filter through CV’s, respond to emails, design technical assessments and actually meet people face to face (oh the horror). And while this takes time, we ensure that we put 100% of our effort into each and every aspect of this process for every single job position that we aim to fill. Hiring the right people is key to the overall success of your business and at Simplimantis we strongly believe that if we onboard new team members that do not intimidate and challenge us to be better as individuals, then we are essentially wasting our time in the long run. In some cases we may initially bring someone on board and then, only at a later stage realise that the negatives of having them on the team easily outweigh the positives. And as soon as we establish this, we are prepared to have difficult conversations with them and if necessary, even part ways. Why? Because, Never Settle.
If you have a dream, chase it. If you know the type of life you want to live, live it. If you know the type of work you want to do, do it. And if along your journey you realise that you need to find people to work with, search high and low for them, just remember to never ever settle, no matter what.
The following three books have helped me establish and maintain a never settle attitude:
- Rework – Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
- Hard thing about hard things – Ben Horowitz
- The Dip – Seth Godin
Benjamin Mmari is the CTO of Simplimantis, a software development company that specialises in building Android and iOS apps. He is a fervent supporter of African entrepreneurship and has a burning passion for using technology to build and implement innovative solutions. If you have any questions about startups, world changing ideas or mobile apps you can contact the Simplimantis team on firstname.lastname@example.org