Lessons from year 23

5 lessons from year 23.
Careers
Reflections
Personal Development
March 7, 2021
5
min read

Today I turned 24, capping off the most eventful year of my life.

From 23-24 I: 

- graduated from university.

- took my first company from 0-1

- transitioned from founder to growth marketer

Here's a quick recap of the past year & the top 5 lessons I learned.

Backstory

I started off the year at a transition period in my life. 

I had spent the past 1.5 years pitching an idea for a fitness tech startup to help personal trainers effectively manage their clients remotely.With the help of my 2 co-founders, we launched a beta & got our first users. When we got into the Next36 program by Next Canada in summer of 2019, I dropped out of school with two classes left to launch the company. We raised a small pre-seed round and decided to go full time for a year since we had limited risk and thought we were on to something.

Soon after, we joined a Canadian incubator called the Ryerson DMZ pitched at a few events and even got our first feature in Forbes. But as with any startup, there were a lot of ups and downs. I struggled with impostor syndrome and constantly questioned my place in the world.

Looking back, I genuinely thought my first business was my calling. I was an athlete (former McGill varsity bball) building a fitness tech company and no one could tell me otherwise. I even got certified as a personal trainer so I could intimately understand our customers.

This played a huge role in shaping my identity. I spoke on panels, shared my story with up and coming founders and I thought I was "doing this entrepreneurship thing" right.

The issue was my personal alignment.

I felt I was straddling 2 lives and when things didn't take off right away, I started taking 1 remote class per semester to wrap up my degree. Despite the changing value of a university degree, I'm grateful I finished as it allowed me to close that chapter of my life for good.

We continued to make progress with the company throughout 2020. I led our marketing efforts and fell in love with growth after going through the Demand Curve course. We also participated in multiple programs including the Envision Accelerator & ODF5 from On Deck.

But something was still missing.

Throughout ODF, I reflected on what I wanted to do next and decided to interview for a growth role given their inspiring vision and my newfound passion for the field.

I got the offer in December & the rest is history.

As you can see, the past year was a huge inflection point in my personal and professional life.

Oh, and I forgot to mention it all happened during a global pandemic.

On that note, here are the top 5 lessons I learned going from 23 to 24:

#1: Be your authentic self at all times.

Last year, I spent a lot of time and energy maintaining a front.

I was constantly pitching myself and my business, trying to make it seem like I had everything figured out. 

It's far easier to be 100% you at all times. No one else can.

#2: Priority > Productivity

Last year, I had a ton of competing priorities.

My daily to-do list included studying for classes, getting customers, raising money, and networking.

But true results only came in any area when I focused exclusively on "one thing".

Less is more.

#3: Master a craft

I compare being a founder to a jack-of-all-trades. 

You learn a ton about all aspects of business but don't go deep on most things.

I've now shifted my focus to honing hard skills like copywriting & data analysis so I can improve daily as a marketer.

#4: Ask for help

As a former CEO, I believed I always had to have the answer to any problem we faced.

I couldn't have been further from the truth.

Sharing your struggles openly lets you seek out the best resources or people to solve the problem.

#5: Fall in love with the process

I've always felt in a rush to reach my goals. I looked up to other founders and thought I had no time to waste.

But real success comes from sustained effort over time.

Everyone is at a different point in their journey. Fall in love with yours.

Thanks for reading to the end! Hope my takeaways help you on your own unique path.

Jordan year was crazy. Excited to see what's in store for Kobe year🚀

KEEP READING

Reflections on Morning Routines

Health & Fitness
Personal Development

How to build a morning routine to maximize performance

May 2, 2021
4
min read

Mental Models for Prioritization

Careers
Startups

A breakdown of mental models for prioritization to maximize productivity.

May 25, 2021
5
min read

Get insights on startups, careers and personal development in your inbox

Once a month, I write an in-depth essay breaking down principles from sports that help you scale your startup, your career, and yourself.

Subscribe now so you don’t miss them.

No spam, ever. Unsubscribe at any time with one click.