Reflect early and celebrate often.image
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Reflect early and celebrate often.

In October of 2019, a few weeks before we launched Lumastic (the first time lol), Sarah and I went out and bought a bottle of champagne. I told the team that at the moment we went live, we’d pop open the bottle and toast our hard work.

But launch night went a little longer than expected. Thanks to some DNS issues, the site wasn’t officially available until about 2 am 😅. And at that time, Keith and I were far more interested in going to sleep than cracking open champaign. Plus, Sarah and Chelsea had already left and gone to sleep. So, we said that we’d celebrate in the morning.

That bottle of champagne sat in our fridge for nearly a year.

Later on, I told myself and the team that I’d get a tattoo of our logo when we made our first sale. I thought that would be such a moment of triumph that I’d want to mark my body with a reminder of that feeling forever. But when we made our first sale, it didn’t feel anything like that. It felt mundane. I think when it happened, I sent an excited message in Slack, breathed a sigh of relief, and got back to work.

These moments made me realize that the wins never feel as good as the losses feel bad. When starting a business, your todo list is never ending. There’s always another goal to hit, another waypoint, another mountain to climb. And the feelings of constant fear, inadequacy, and insecurity follow you throughout the journey. However, it’s so important to find time to celebrate in-spite of these feelings and make the wins bigger than they feel.

It’s important to reflect on where the business needs be go. But you and your team also need to take time to sit back and see how far you’ve come. You need to be your own advocate, champion, and coach and pat yourself on the back once in a while. So when you’re putting out the fire-of-the-day, you remember that you’ve conquered hard things before - and can do it again.

I wish, as a leader, I had taken more times to reflect and celebrate with our team. I wish we had woken everyone up and popped open that champagne at 2 am. And I think I’m going to go get that tattoo.

Note: This is part of a larger blog series on 10 Things I Learned From My First Failed Startup. Checkout the rest of the series and tweet your thoughts at me.

Drew Lyton
Drew Lyton
Friday, February 4, 2022

I'm a software engineer, ex-founder and writer who cares deeply about creating a better relationship between technology and society. I'm currently writing a book about early stage entrepreneurship.


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