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Outlier’s Path

Hard Times Reveal True Character

Last week, a company I’ve worked with since 2016 found a home for its employees, but its stock certificates expired worthless. Financially, we wanted a different outcome, especially for the founders and the employees. While we wished for better, the closing notes from the founders and board members were filled with gratitude.

As an example, one of the cofounders wrote, “Truly grateful and inspired by you all. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for cheering us on and showing up even stronger when times were the hardest. We learned and grew so much from all of you and wish it could have been different. But we can definitely say we gave it our all and left [it all] on the field. And, of course, thank you to [my cofounder] for never stopping to fight and landing the plane as softly as possible. No one else could have done this but her and our team and customers and myself will be forever grateful.”

This company could have easily folded during the pandemic, but the team wouldn’t give up and kept pushing for another four years. During those four years, there were moments when the team could have just thrown in the towel, but they kept pushing through until they found a path to a controlled landing and finished their mission. Jess Lee wrote, “Hard times reveal true character,” and the team showed their best qualities on their worst days.

One cofounder closed by writing, “Building [the company] has been the privilege of a lifetime.” Indeed, working with founders and teams that spend themselves on a worthy cause and dare greatly is a privilege of a lifetime.

Thank you to all our founders and teams who strive valiantly in the arena every single day.