I have often said that the perception of success that inundates our lives is heavy on the success part, and light on the “never give up” part. Our view of success is flooded with images post success: shiny photos in magazines, Instagram feeds of edited and filtered highlights, and three minute morning and late night talk show clips of fun. Behind this mirage of an end product are endless stories of people who faced great challenges, took risks, worked days into nights, and sacrificed short term comfort for long term values. Behind all of this, I promise you will find stories that include tears, sleepless nights wondering how to get funding or pay the bills, managing the fear of failing on a lifelong dream, and hearing the stinging words of rejection echo in their minds, allowing doubt to creep in.
Building something from a mere idea is hard. There will be constant attempts to make you quit, give it all up, or question your audacity to even try. Situations are going to challenge your patience, your vision, and your confidence. Sometimes it might feel like the world is pelting you with imaginary bullets in an effort to make you feel insecure in your dream, but don’t let that stop you. Never stop believing in your ability to build something of value using God’s gifts. Sometimes it feels like the bullets keep coming every moment of every day, but always remember that the choice to give up or keep going and stay the course is a choice that is reserved only for you. Outside forces will test your will and your resolve, and you have to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your dream.
I started KOCH almost ten years ago. There was a time in my life when I wondered if all the years I had worked on KOCH were worth it. I was a single mother, raising my son alone, and betting on my company financially and emotionally. I sat at bank conference tables with men staring at me blankly while I pitched my idea. I had manufacturing failures, cash FLOW challenges, office space that barely fit a desk. The number of times I felt like quitting are numerous. Why didn’t I? Because I agree with Elon Musk – it just wasn’t an option. I believed there could be nothing more disappointing for me than surrendering to the idea that my life wasn’t mine for the making. Most of all, I needed my son to see me build something of value and be financially independent. I couldn’t stand the thought of him seeing me give up.