• Dave Westlake

Embrace the Suck!

Original Post: August 23, 2016


[This really happened.  To me.  This morning.]


Monday, 8:47 AM - My phone “dings” telling me I’ve got a new text.  I glance down expecting it to be some good news about a proposal we’re waiting on…or maybe it’s my awesome wife wishing me a great week.  It’s first thing Monday morning—what could possibly be wrong?


“Dave, things are real bad here” is how it starts off…and it goes downhill—fast— from there.  


That isn’t how most people would want to start the week.  And, full disclosure here, it wasn't exactly how I wanted to start Monday morning either.  Here’s the thing, though—that “bad” text was one of the best things that could happen to me (as a business owner, anyway).  It’s only through things going awry from time to time that we can ever grow and improve.  As an entrepreneur, you WANT to have problems to solve…that reveals 2 truths:

  1. You’re making things happen (which is the point of why you started your business in the first place, right?), and

  2. Your clients still care enough about you to tell you when things are wrong so you can fix them.

In the Army, we called this “embracing the suck.”  It’s where you recognize things are not optimal and you choose to make the best of it instead of letting it ruin you.  The former ensures you learn and grow from the situation; the latter will bury you so deep in self pity that you’ll struggle to ever recover.  You may even find yourself making excuses…trust me, no one cares


If you’re like me, life will give you plenty of opportunities to decide which path to take when things don’t go the way you expect.  Embrace the suck, learn and grow, move forward. You'll make the world a better place.


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Post-Script: What happened to the client's issue from this morning?  We didn't let it get us down, stayed focused, isolated and fixed the problem, and learned a lot about how our software is serving this client.  The feeling of overcoming an issue for a client is—to me—even more gratifying that deploying awesome software in the first place...you're doing something that helps another human being.  In the end, isn't that what life is all about? 


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