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Adii Pienaar

Family man, seeker and learner. Revealing my inner-poet. 2X Founder: Conversio (acquired by Campaign Monitor) + WooCommerce (acquired by Automattic). Ex-Rockstar.

Believing in the Invisible

In my past I had a religious friend that explained to me his religious beliefs are based on the mantra that you need to believe in the things that you can't see. This is very much how I feel about business today.

Regardless of my own religious or spiritual beliefs, I know that one needs to believe in things that are intangible and are likely difficult to prove. You're required to believe in concepts and theories.

This also reminds me of Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement speech in 2005, where he spoke about connecting the dots:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

I recently had a discussion with my wife about PublicBeta and how I see the next couple of months playing out. I can see so many dots in the future:

  • The first revenues & initial traction.
  • Hiring the first team member and then building out the rest of the team.
  • Becoming cash-flow positive.

And that list can go on and on.

The reality is that all of those dots are generic firstly and they need to be connected. Whilst I'd classify myself as a pretty savvy entrepreneur (mostly based on making so many mistakes in the past), there's no way that I know what 100% of the answer is to finding that initial traction, generating revenue and becoming cash-flow positive. I obviously have a plan of how I'll connect those dots, but I don't have any guarantees that I will succeed.

That scares me.

It's at that point though, where that belief in the things that I can't see sets in and - importantly - sets me free. Whilst I can't see the lines (to connect the dots) now, I just know they'll eventually be there.

I know myself. I know that I'm resilient and that I've never feared hard work. I also know that I've made loads of mistakes, but that I trust myself to have learnt from those. And if I'm not the first believer, then nobody else will believe.

There's huge risk in opening and walking through a door when you don't know what's on the other side. The only thing you have is the knowledge of who you are and the trust that you will react in the way required.

That's believing in the (seemingly) invisible.

PS. Join me and 1200+ other entrepreneurs at PublicBeta, where we learn and discuss ways in which we are connecting the dots within our businesses.

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